Years ago I bought a cookbook called Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno and I love this book.
I’ve made several of the breads recipes; it would be great fun to try them all. I’ve given this book as a gift more than once. If you see it on the shelf at your local book store I’d recommend buying it. Today I decided to take a stab at the Pita bread. Several years ago a friend was staying with us and I decided to attempt an authentic Mexican meal including homemade tortillas. Well, our friend was kind and said the tortillas were great, but in reality they were awful! Like plastic frisbees. Here’s hoping my pita bread will be better than my tortillas. If they are a success my plan is to make lamb meatballs and yogurt cucumber sauce to serve with them.
2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 cup water
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into 1/2 cup of the water and leave for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast and olive oil into the well.
Stir the flour into the liquid. Add the remaining water as needed to form a firm, soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. About 15 minutes. Kneading bread can be very therapeutic.
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel and put in a draft free place to rise until doubled in size. About 1 1/2 hour.
Once dough has risen punch it down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 425.
Divide the dough into eight pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. On a lightly floured surface roll each into a 9″ oval about 1/4″ thick.
Cover the discs with the towel and proof until slightly risen, about 20 minutes. While the dough is proofing lightly dust two baking sheets with flour and preheat them in the oven for 5 minutes. Place the dough ovals on the hot baking sheets and return immediately to the oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes until puffy.
Wrap the pitas in a clean, dry cloth to keep the crusts soft and to prevent drying out.
Not perfect, but pretty close.
We we ate them for dinner with the lamb meatballs, yogurt cucumber sauce, chopped tomatoes with mint and lemon, feta cheese and homemade pickled beets and pepperoncini.
Leftover pitas can be cut into wedges, sprinkled with a little olive oil and the seasoning of your choice and dried in the oven. Great with some hummus or a soft cheese.
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