One of my all time favorite things to make when the weather cools down is bread.
I love the smell of flour mingling with fermenting yeast as the dough proofs, and that wonderful smell when it bakes up in the oven; INHALE...it's one of The Best smells
in the world to me.
I tried my hand at making pita bread for the first time this summer. They swelled like balloons in the oven & were more like pocket pitas (great for stuffing with greek chicken salad)
than the "multi-mini-pockets" shown here. They were tasty nonetheless.
What do you like to cook/bake in Autumn?
Here is the Recipe:
(adapted from thefreshloaf.com
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 packet quick rise yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cup water, roughly at room temperature
an extra 1/4 cup of water, roughly at room temperature
• Mix the yeast, flour, and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer.
• Add the honey, olive oil, and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon, or on the low setting.
• All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water (the extra 1/4 cup).
• Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes (or until your hands get tired). If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.
(The purpose of kneading is to thoroughly combine the ingredients and to break down the flour so that the dough will become stretchy and elastic and rise well in the oven. A simple hand kneading technique is to firmly press down on the dough with the palm of your hand, fold the dough in half toward you like you are closing an envelope, rotate the dough 90 degrees and then repeat these steps, but whatever technique you are comfortable using should work.)
• When you are done kneading the dough, form it into a ball, & place in a bowl that has been lightly coated with extra virgin olive oil. Just pour about a teaspoon of oil into the bowl and rub it around with your fingers. Roll the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases.
Sprinkle a little bit of flour on a cutting board, remove the dough from the bowl onto the board and divide it into 8 pieces.
(I have 4 pieces here, because I decided to only make 4 pitas. In the last bulleted paragraph, I cut the dough in half after rolling it into a ball, and refrigerated half for later use. This dough had much more flavor.)
Roll each piece into a ball.
Cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it'll be easier to shape.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.
After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there.
Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.
Open the oven and carefully place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn't necessary.
These disks of "bready goodness" pair wonderfully with greek rice
Any questions, Ask Away...