Sunday, April 19, 2009
PITA BREAD WITH NICE DEEP POCKETS
The most interesting thing about pita bread are their pockets. The way they puff and the way they don't brown too much. They remain mostly pale as they're cooked for only 5 minutes in an extremely hot oven. I had set the oven at the hottest setting and baked the breads on the lowest rack. It was as simple as that and in all honesty that is probably the secret to getting these babies to puff. It's all in the heat. And the fact that the dough was soft and moist provided enough moisture for steam to form that helped lift and puff the bread giving us the pleasure of finger deep pockets that we could fill with anything that strikes our fancy.
They were so quick, easy and enthralling to make that I should have made them when I first thought about it. And believe me that was a very very long time ago.
These breads were so easy that I made them twice today. I bumped into this recipe at Allrecipes.com and it was a complete success in puffiness, deep deep pockets and in look. A very good recipe indeed.
3 cups all purpose flour ore whole wheat or half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/8 cups water
extra flour for dusting
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Mix yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and add to the flour followed by the oil. Mix with a fork. If you have a bread machine you're supposed to put everything in and let the machine do the work. Please refer here if you're using a bread machine.
Mix well and then knead for about 5 minutes.Add more flour a little at a time if the dough is sticky. When the dough is smooth put it in a greased bowl and let it proof for 30 minutes to an hour. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or cling film.
When the dough has risen to double its size take it out from the bowl and divide into 8 parts.
Take one part and make it into a ball and then roll out into a circle with a rolling pin about 6 or 7 inches in diameter. There is no need to let them rise a second time. It is baked immediately.
Bake in a preheated hot hot hot hot hot hot oven directly on the oven's wire rack or on a separate wire rack or on a preheated baking pan (place the wire rack or baking pan in the oven for 15 minutes with the oven temperature at the highest setting). Bake for 5 minutes. Those babies will puff. Just before putting them in the oven you can also sprinkle the rolled out dough with some water for good measure. The drops of water changes to steam and helps the pita to puff up.
When puffed and lightly browned on the top take them out using a spatula and place them on a wire rack and cover with a damp cloth to let them soften. Do the same for the rest of the dough. And check those pockets out!
If they don't puff they will still taste good though. But if your oven is REALLY HOT they will have to puff.
According to the recipe they can be kept in the fridge in a plastic bag for a few days or in the freezer for 1 to 2 months.