Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rosie Makes Pita Bread.

Rosie and Middle Hawthorne collaborated on this dish.
I asked him what he wanted.
And he told me.

Chicken shawarma with tsatsiki sauce and pita bread.

I've already made the tzatziki sauce.
Now I'm making the pita bread.

I'm following Rose Levy Beranbaum's
pita bread recipe from her book ...

Pita Bread
3 cups plus a scant 1/4 AP flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
2 TB olive oil
1 1/4 cups water at room temperature

Note:  Beranbaum specifies using only
Gold Medal, King Arthur, or Pillsbury flours.

I used what I had,
which was the Food Lion brand.
Flour makes a difference,
I'm convinced.
I've found it to be true when making biscotti
and it's true in bread-making.
Texture and rise are both different.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except 1/4 cup flour.
Mix until all flour is moistened,
Knead dough in the bowl until it comes together.
Sprinkle some of the reserved flour on work surface
and knead dough for 5 minutes,
using as little of the reserved flour as possible.
Use a bench scraper to gather the dough together
as you knead it.
Dough will be very sticky.
Cover with the inverted bowl
and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.
The rest makes the dough not as sticky
and easier to work with.
Knead the dough for another 5-10 minutes.
The dough is supposed to weigh about 27.75 ounces.

Let the dough rise.
Scrape into a large, lightly greased bowl.
Press dough down and oil top of it.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Mark on the bowl at approximately where
double the height of the dough would be.

Refrigerate the dough overnight
(or up to 3 days),
checking every hour for the first 4 hours
and pressing it down if it starts to rise.

One hour before you're ready to bake,
heat the oven to 475°.
Have oven shelf at lowest level
and place a baking stone or cast iron skillet
on it before heating.

Shape the dough.
Cut dough into 8 or 12 pieces.
Work with one piece at a time,
keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth.
On a lightly floured surface,
shape each piece into a ball
and flatten it into a disk.
Cover the dough with oiled plastic
and allow to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Roll each piece into a circle
slightly short of 1/4 inch thick.
Allow to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Place one piece of dough directly
on the hot stone or skillet
and bake for 3 minutes.
The pita should be completely puffed,
but not starting to brown.
The dough will not puff well
if it's not moist enough.
See how they puff
and, if necessary, spritz with water,
knead, allow to rest, and re-roll.

To cook pitas on the stove top,
heat griddle or cast iron skillet
over medium-high heat.
Lightly grease the surface
 and cook pitas one at a time.
Cook for about 20 seconds,
then turn dough and cook for 1 minute
or until big bubbles appear.
Turn the dough again and cook until the dough balloons.
Entire process for each pita should be about 3 minutes.

Mix all ingredients together.

Knead 5 minutes.

Let rest 20 minutes.

I'm pretty close -  27.8 ounces.

Dough has doubled.

I didn't really follow the directions here.
I did press the dough down for the first few hours,
but I didn't let it sit in the fridge overnight.
I jumped the gun
and cooked the pita after about only 6 hours.

Next time,
I'll use a proper flour and let it take its time overnight.

Roll into balls.

Press into disks
and cover with oiled plastic.
Let rest, then roll into circles about 1/4 inch thick.

 The first batch I cooked
on a baking stone in the oven.

The next batch I cooked in an iron skillet.

Ooooh.  Lookie!
It's puffy!

Oven-baked on left.
Skillet on right.

Tomorrow, I'll make the chicken shawarma.
Until then.


ejer said...

Hi Rosie, I'm having trouble visualizing this step: "roll into circles about 1/4 inch thick." Could you please explain how to turn the discs into circles? Thanks!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Hi ejer, just press the discs into flat circle-shapes 1/4-inch thick.