Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Martha Moment

I have a confession to make. I sometimes have Martha moments. What are these you ask? They are moments when I decide to do something foolish, like make my own pita bread. I know, I know, I’m a little crazy. Why wouldn’t I just buy my pita at the store like every other sane person? Well, see, I found this recipe and it didn’t look too hard, so I thought I’d give it a go.
The verdict? Actually, the pitas are really easy to make and are way tastier than their store bought companions! Never again will I buy pita bread. Ok, this is probably a lie, but go with me ok? Most importantly I want you to go and make your own pitas. Don’t be scared, it’ll be alright, and Martha will be so proud!

Pita Bread:
Makes 8-10 pitas

3 cups flour, plus ¼ - ½ cup extra as needed (I used a combination of white and whole wheat flours)
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar or honey
1 packet instant yeast (I used regular yeast and activated in the warm water)
1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups room temperature water
2 tbsp olive oil, butter, shortening

1.       If you are using regular yeast measure 1 ¼ cups warm water and place yeast with a pinch of sugar in bowl. Leave for 7-10 minutes, until foamy.
2.       While the yeast is getting happy, in a mixing bowl add the 3 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the oil or fat of your choice. Then add the water until it forms a ball, if the flour is still sticking to the sides add more water. The dough should be sticky.

 See my smoothie in the backround? You should always keep snacks around when you cook. True story.

3.       Place dough on a well floured surface to knead or using an electric mixer place on low speed for 10 minutes. While the dough is mixing add flour 2tbsp at a time, until dough clears the side of the bowl and is tacky, but not sticky. Don’t worry, this party totally freaked me out, but I got through it and figured out what tacky not sticky meant. You can too. Promise!
4.       When dough is finished kneading place in a well oiled bowl, slightly cover the ball with oil, and cover with a kitchen towel. Does anyone ever get annoyed when they say a “clean kitchen towel”? Define “clean”, this is me and my kitchen we’re talking about and I am a touch messy in it. So, I give you permission, if your towel is a little less than “clean” it’s ok by me. Anyways…Place the covered bowl in a warm spot for 90 minutes.
5.       After it has doubled in size punch the dough (while punching please picture someone you’d really like to punch, it helps!). Divide dough into 8 pieces. I ended up with 11. You can do whoever many you’d like. Line up dough balls on a sheet tray, cover with a towel, and let them rest for 30 minutes. This helps the dough relax and makes it easier to roll ‘em out. When you go to roll them and you find them springing back, place them back under the towel for a few more minutes of relaxing. Then try again.

6.       Turn oven to 450F. If using a pizza stone add the stone now so it can heat up. If you don’t have a pizza stone run out to the store right now and purchase one! Just kidding! Use a cookie sheet.
7.       Time to get rolling! Use a well-floured surface and rolling pin. The dough should be ¼ - 1/8” thick. About 6” in diameter. Place on hot pizza stone. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
8.       Enjoy!

This here is a little spread I created for my friends and I to enjoy the pitas. It was a huge hit!

Happy pita making!

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