Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pita Bread II, from Kris

Pita bread:

380 grams bread flour
1 cup warm (about 115 degree) water
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sea salt
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp sugar

Mix water, sugar and yeast in heated mixing bowl and allow yeast 7 - 10 minutes to activate. Once yeast is activated, add remaining ingredients and mix with wooden spoon until it comes together as a mass. Using dough hook with electric mixer, knead dough for 10 minutes on speed 2, adding any additional water or flour in first 2 minutes. After kneading, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead by hand an additional 1 or 2 minutes - avoid incorporating much additional flour at this point. Roll into tight dough ball and place into lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides of dough ball with oil (alternately, 'paint' small amount of oil onto top surface of dough ball). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to double in size in warm, dry place. Once dough is doubled in size, punch down to remove trapped air bubbles. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 1 or 2 minutes. Pull dough apart into 8 or 10 balls of dough. Set aside and cover with dry tea towel. Allow balls of dough to rise for 20 - 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat over to 450 degrees with a cookie sheet upside down on middle rack (this will become the hot cooking surface). After the dough balls have rested, roll them *just before you bake them* I can fit 4 pitas onto my cookie sheet, so I only roll 4 at a time - keeping the others covered until I am ready to use them. Roll to about 1/8 inch thickness or so. Too thin and they won't puff, too thick and they won't puff... Try not to make the pitas too big - maybe 4 or 5 inches across is all. This is the trial and error part! Roll 2 - 4 pitas, depending on what your cookie sheet will fit. Spray the inside of your oven, including the cookie sheet with water before you put the pitas on it. Water should skip and dance off the cookie sheet as soon as it is sprayed. Put pitas on hot cookie sheet and bake for 3 - 5 minutes until puffed and done. I usually don't turn my pitas over, and I prefer not to have them be too brown (they get crunchy that way. So, I usually go for 3 minutes, maybe 4. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool....

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