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pita bread

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Pita bread

Right – fancy making alien space ships? Flying saucers? Be my guest. Pita (or pitta, I shall never know which is correct) is apparently dead easy, the dough – a doddle, doesn’t need to prove or rise, knead much, just shape and roll out. But the rub is that unless you know what the perfect thickness should be – and I’ve not quite sussed it yet – it will shape-shift in the oven like a magician’s disciple.

Capricious, too – some will never puff up, and where’s your kebab pocket then? Others will stay puffed up for ever. I figure the secret is to make rather small ones which will make it easier to roll out evenly but not too thinly. Mine are rather enormous. Alien objects, that’s what.

Pita is very gratifying because you eat bread, but so thin and not a lot of it that you can pretend you’re having a no-bread salad. Unless it hides a doner kebab – which is, I must admit, what I have a guilty secret love affair with.

pita bread


INGREDIENTS

  • 300g strong white flour
  • 200g plain flour
  • 8g fresh or 1 tsp fast action yeast
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 325g warm water

METHOD

Mix the flours with the salt, yeast (even if using fresh, just crumble it in) and sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the oil and water and mix to a soft sticky dough. Leave for 10 minutes, then knead briefly by hand or mix with a dough hook attachment. Leave for another 10 minutes, then repeat the kneading twice again. The final dough should be smooth, elastic and stop sticking to your hands and bounce off the sides of the bowl in a standing mixer. Leave covered for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to your highest setting (250C/485F/gas 9, or whatever you can get). Place a baking sheet in the oven to get it very hot.

Turn the rested dough onto a floured surface and divide into 9-10 pieces, about 90g each. Shape them into balls, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Roll out each ball, one or two at a time, reasonably thin, into oval shapes – about 5mm thick.

Rolling out pita dough

Place one or two pitas on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 3 to 5 minutes until they puff up and only just start to colour. Cool on a wire rack covered with a cloth, to keep them moist.


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