Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Pita Bread/Pocket Bread


Note from Cheri:
This round bread with the pocket in the middle is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisines. The breads puff up during baking, then collapse to form the inner pocket. You can stuff pitas with just about any kind of filling for a handy, portable sandwich.

2 C warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil

Makes 12 Pitas

Place 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast and sugar over the water. Stir to blend and let sit until dissolved.
Place flour, salt and oil in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining water and beat (preferable with a heavy duty electric mixer) until flour is completely integrated. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed -- about 5-8 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl and oil top of dough lightly. Cover with a warm kitchen towl and let rise in a warm place until doubles in size, about 1 1/4 hours.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead to remove the air bubbles. Roll into a log and divide dough evenly into 12 pieces. Pat each piece of dough into a ball, them use a rolling pin to flatten into discs about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter. Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500° F. and place oven rack in lowest position.
Bake the bread, one pan at a time, until puffed and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool breads on a wire rack.


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