Pitta rising

One of the main delights of reading a cook book is in how it demystifies cooking. Those dishes that seem so intimidating are made approachable with a recipe's few easy steps; just follow the instructions.

This works for the everyday items, too. Pitta bread, for instance; bought with a punnet of hummus, consumed with some haloumi cheese, available in food outlets high and low, so commonplace that one needn't try to make it oneself. Where would one start? Why would one bother?

First answer: looking in the Fabulous Baker Brothers book (again). Second answer: it's fun, quick and in my view the results are tastier than what's available in most stores.

Quick? Oh yes, surprisingly so. But first, the ingredients: mix a sachet of dried yeast in a jug with 20 millilitres of rapeseed oil and 300 millilitres of tepid water; add this combined liquid to 560 grams of strong white flour with 10 grams of sea salt in a large bowl. 

Mix and knead for 15 minutes by hand or for ten minutes by machine with a dough hook: any excess wetness from the liquid will soon disappear as you create a pliable bread dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave for an hour.

Pulling off the tea towel, the dough should have expanded up to twice its size. Now comes the cooking, so heat up your oven to 230º Celsius, or whatever your oven's maximum is (ours is a lowly 200ºC, but we love it so). Put a baking tray inside to heat up with the oven.

While the oven's warming up, pull off pieces of the dough of around 100 grams each. Shape each one into a ball and, on a well-floured work surface, roll the dough out into pittas, keeping both sides well-floured so they don't stick. Keep rolling until the pitta is as long as your arm, from knuckle to elbow.

Once ready, pull out the baking tray with oven gloves or the like and place the pitta onto it carefully. Now, place this in the oven. Within 30 seconds, the pitta bread will start rising... and in well under five minutes, the pitta bread will have not have just risen but ballooned, browned and baked.

Take this out and let dry on a rack; continue with the next ball of dough and then next and the next, until you've got a pile of warm pittas ready for eating or storing. Next? Buy some hummus or haloumi cheese or... actually, why not make some?

1 comment:

  1. This is something that I would never have thought to try making from scratch (a bit like one of my early recipes on here for quiche - why make something that is so nice when store bought?) but it sounds like it is worth the effort. Thank you for sharing (and for adding something new to our poor neglected blog - I have a dish that I must write about soon).