Sunday, July 13, 2008

Pita bread

Hello there, dear friends. It's wonderful to be back from a refreshing weekend break; I hope all of you either had, or are still enjoying a great weekend too. We were a bit rushed on Friday, and then about only 3 hours before Shabbat my husband announced that he wants to make pita bread. I doubted we'll make it on time, but still decided to give it a shot - I figured that if we don't have time to pop it into the oven before Shabbat, I could freeze the dough and bake it later.

The picture above is only an illustration; I wish I had taken a picture of the pita we made, but unfortunately, I didn't think about it before it was already Shabbat (and as you might remember we don't operate electric appliances on Shabbat), and by the time Shabbat was over, the pitas were already consumed! :-)

The recipe we used is for Yemenite pita, and was given to us by a neighbour:

3 cups flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbsp. yeast (we used fresh yeast - I must note that we keep them frozen, so before starting the dough, I "revived" the yeast with a bit of mildly warm water and a little sugar)
1/2 tbsp. salt

Mix all ingredients to form dough, which shouldn't be very sticky. If you feel the dough is too sticky or too dry, you may add some water or flour as needed.
Cover dough with clean cloth and leave to rise for 10 minutes.
Leave to rise for 10 minutes.
Leave to rise for 10 minutes.
Leave to rise for about an hour (we only waited half an hour, as it was very hot).

Divide dough into balls of desired size, on a floured surface. Flatten balls with both of your hands, or roll out. Place on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned. Our pitas formed nicely and actually had pockets in them (convenient for sandwiches), but were slightly dry on the outside. Next time I think we'll sprinkle them with a few drops of olive oil before baking.

I think it's a wonderful recipe to make with children - it's simple, and each child can make his or her pita of the desired shape and size. For my husband, it was the first time he tried his hand at bread-making, and he savored the process of rising and kneading and the smell of fresh bread with childlike delight.

I'm off - there's a lot to do around here. Laundry is waiting to be hanged, dishes need to be washed, and some order must be instilled in our messy refrigerator. Later I might settle on the couch for a while with some crafts, and continue reading "For the Children's Sake", which I've been devouring chapter by chapter during the last few days. I hope to be able to review it soon. Have a lovely day!


Laura Brown said...

Yum! I can never go back to store-bought pita after having tasted the homemade kind. (I use Mollie Katzen's recipe from The New Moosewood Cookbook and have the bread machine knead it for me.)

Jaime said...

oh that does sound tasty!! I haven't had my bread machine very long (I know, I know, there's nothing like doing it by hand, but I much prefer it this way!), but it would be interesting to try pita bread. I bet my kids would love it.

Samara said...

I also use Mollie Katzen's recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook (the old one) and it's good, sweetened a little with honey. This makes me wonder, Anna- can honey be kosher? I know that eating insects themselves is not kosher, but eating manna (locust excretions) is/was mentioned in Hebrew texts, so can other insect products (honey, cochineal etc.) be kosher? I never thought about that before.

Thursday's Child said...

Your recipe looks easier than the one in my Lebanese cookbooks. They have you allowing the rounds to rise before baking them. Hard to find room for all of them around the house while you wait to bake them. LOL

I might have to try your recipe soon...after we're back in Kuwait. I don't care much for their pita bread. But we're spending the summer in Lebanon where the bread is much better.

Anonymous said...

I have not made pita bread for a couple of years was lots of fun to watch them "balloon" in the oven. It's a great baking project to do with children!!


Mrs. Amy Brigham said...

Yummy! How I miss "real pita. All the gluten-recipes just do not compare to the wheat varieties. Too bad as hummus with pita was a favorite snack of mine. Now a variation on naan, made with millet flour, has to do. :o)

Anonymous said...

try adding olive oil (1-2 tbs)to the dough while mixing-this may be the secret missing ingredient ;)

Anonymous said...

My pita recipe says to let them cool layered between moist towels. This makes them softer. :) Hope that helps for next time!

Marste said...

Anna, if I may ask, what kind of flour did you use? Do you think whole wheat flour would work? This pita recipe looks so simple, and I LOVE pita bread, but I'm afraid if you used pastry flour it might not work with whole wheat flour.

Thank you!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Samara: honey is kosher because it isn't actually a product made in the bee's body. It only "passes" through the bee.

Marste: we used simple all-purpose flour. I think whole wheat could work too. If you aren't sure, you can make it half and half at first.

Ana said...

Maybe I missed this, but about how long do you bake the pitas and what temperature was your oven?