Monday, January 21, 2013

Rosie Makes Pita Bread To Go With Her Hummus.

Yesterday, Rosie made tahini paste and hummus.
 Today, she's making pita bread for dipping.

And let me tell you,
I had to hide the hummus from Boy
so I'd have some left to shoot the pics with.

This was made more difficult 
by the fact that the dough needed
to sit overnight in the fridge.
This slow rise gives the bread more flavor.

 I recently got another freebie from Amazon -
Ruth Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible.
I'll be using her recipe for the pita bread.

Before I get around to making the pita,
I have another little story for you.
Remember recently when I had asked Mr. Hawthorne
what he'd like me to make from  
And he returned the book with his 
selected recipes dog-eared?!!?
If you recall, Rosie was not happy.

Well ...
Mr. Hawthorne was having this lobster tail
for lunch while I had my brand new cookbook open on the counter.

 And yes, the man splashed butter all over my book.

You know, Sandra Lee bugged me enough
when she tore pages out of books and charred the edges
and used them in one of her ghastly tablescapes in a public park.
but now it's getting personal.
These are MY books the man is defacing.

Take deep breaths, Rosie.
Here's a bag to breathe in just in case.

I'm better now.
Let's make pita bread.
Pita Bread

3 cups flour plus a scant 1/4 cup
2 tsp salt
1 packet yeast
2 TB olive oil (I used ELBOO - Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil.)
1 1/4 cups water

I used the hand method.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.  I added about 1 tsp sugar to give the yeast a final meal.  
Wait about 10 minutes for the yeast to proof.  That means it gets all foamy and bubbly and on a sugar high so you know it's active.  It's "proved" it's alive.

Mix all ingredients, reserving the 1/4 cup of flour.
Knead in the bowl until it all comes together.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface using some of the reserved 1/4 cup flour.
I used a pastry scraper to help scrape the dough together as I kneaded it.  
At this point, it's a very sticky dough.
Use the reserved flour sparingly.
Knead for 5 minutes.  Set a timer because 5 minutes is longer than you think.
Cover with inverted bowl and allow to reset for 20 minutes.
This rest will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.

Knead the dough for another 10 minutes.  

Oil a bowl and dough, cover dough with plastic wrap, and let it rise.  
Refrigerate the dough overnight, checking every hour for the first four hours and pressing it down when it starts to rise.

The next day,  Heat oven to 475 degrees one hour before baking.  Have an oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or cast iron skillet on the rack.

Shape the dough.  I cut the dough into 16 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth, I shaped each piece into a ball and then flattened it into a disk.  Cover disks with oiled plastic and allow to rest 20 minutes.

Roll each disk into circles a little under 1/4 inch thick.  Allow to rest, uncovered for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake the pita.  Place one piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet.  Bake for 3 minutes.  The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown.  It will not puff well if it is not moist enough.  See how the first dough puffs and, if necessary, spritz the circles with water before placing on stone.  Bake three or four at a time.

Now for the step by steps:
Sprinkle yeast into water.

I add a little water to the packet to get every bit of yeast out.

Sprinkle a little sugar over top
and watch the yeast wrestle its dinner to the bottom of the bowl.

When the yeast has a full belly ...

...  add in flour 1 cup at a time,
stirring it in with a fork.

Add in olive oil.

This is what it looks like after 2 cups of flour.

Add in salt.

Add in third cup of flour.

 Lightly flour your board.

Turn shaggy mess onto the board.

Knead for five minutes.

Cover with a bowl and let rest for 20 minutes.

Knead another 10 minutes.

Press into oiled bowl.

Cover with plastic.
Place in refrigerator overnight.

After first hour.

Every hour for the first four hours, press down dough.

Notice I put a piece of tape on the bowl,
so I'll know how much the dough rises.

The next day.
Risen and ready to shape.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

The dough is very elastic and pliable.

I divided the dough into 16 pieces.

Working with one piece at a time
and keeping the dough covered with a damp towel,
roll each piece into a ball and flatten into a disk.

Keep the disks covered with oiled plastic wrap.

Let disks rest for 20 minutes.

Roll dough into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick.

I gave my disks a spritz of water
before placing them on my baking stone.

Pay attention to the spray bottle you use.

I used a little corn meal on my paddle
and dropped the rounds onto my baking stone.


This is some good bread.

Next, I cut some of the pitas into triangles.

I'm going to season them with cumin,
cayenne pepper, and epazote.

I have seen epazote in its fresh, leafy form
at one of our cooking classes at the NC Aquarium.
It is unique.
Smelled like turpentine to me.

I saw the dried epazote when I was at a
 Penzey's store in Raleigh.
Intrigued, I picked it up.
Never used it before.
Can't describe the flavor,
but it's not turpentine.

I put half a stick of butter on my baking pan
and put it in the oven while it was heating to 300.
When the butter melted ...

... I added in about this much of each spice.

Spread spices evenly in butter
and coat both sides of pita triangles in mixture.
Drizzle a little olive oil over top.
Bake until lightly browned and crisp.

Serve with hummus.



Rocquie said...

Beautiful bread and what a labor of love!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

The bread was delicious, Sage. No leftovers!