>Does anyone have a recipe for pita bread they could share, please?
Here's one that I found while searching for a recipe for fatayer. It comes
from a book called "Lebanese Mountain Cookery" by Mary Laird Hamady. The
book itself has everything my grandmother used to make (and then some) with
tons of folklore, tips & tricks. Although I've not tried to make this
myself (my kitchen is little bigger than a closet), I've tasted my friend's
labors using this recipe, and have been pleasantly surprised. Enjoy!!
ROUND FLAT ARABIC BREAD ("pita" bread)
1 T. (1 pkg) dry yeast
1 t. sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
15 cups unbleached white flour
4 1/2 T. salt
5 cups lukewarm water (for more nutritious breads, add 1 1/2 cups nonfat dry
milk to water and beat well)
3 T. olive oil
Proof the yeast by dissolving the yeast & sugar in 1 cup lukewarm water for
5 to 10 minutes.
Mix 14 cups flour and salt together in a large bowl, reserving 1 cup flour
for kneading. Add 5 cups lukewarm water, oil, and the yeast mixture all at
once to flour. Stir with wooden spoon or with hands until dough sticks
together. Turn out onto a floured board or cloth and knead very well.
Gradually add the reserved flour to keep dough from sticking. Kneading may
take 10 to 15 minutes. Dough is ready when it feels elastic; bubbles will
break on the surface when you form it into a ball.
NOTE: It is important to knead this dough sufficiently. Proper kneading
will insure that the breads puff up, or balloon, during the short, very hot
baking time. Otherwise, the air pocket that creates the top & bottom layers
of bread may not form completely.
Place in a greased bowl and cover with a dry cloth. let dough rise in a
warm place, undisturbed, until it doubles in size (about 2 hours). Punch
dough down. Oil hands and divide dough into 25 to 30 balls the size of
small oranges. Again, cover them with a dry cloth and place in a warm spot
to rise for 30 minutes.
Roll each ball into a 7 to 8 inch circle, 1/4 inch thick or less. Place
circles of dough on flat boards or a table. Cover with dry cloth and let
rise 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place breads on baking sheets, 2 per sheet. When you remove the dough
rounds to the baking sheets, flip them so the top side becomes the bottom
side on the sheet. The moister surface is now exposed and rises more easily
than the other, which may have dried out slightly. Bake in mid-oven, 2
sheets (4 breads) at a time, for 4 to 6 minutes. After 2 to 3 minutes, the
breads will rise and balloon on the baking sheets. Bake 2 to 3 minutes
longer, until just slightly brown on the bottom.
Slide breads onto a board to cool, and spray immediately with water. Cover
with a damp cloth. When completely cool, flatten them gently with your hand
and stack in a pile. Cover stack with a damp tea towel for 2 to 3 hours.
Yield: 25 to 30 breads. Freezes well.
Jenny L. Berger
"Where the hell are the singin' cats?" - Paul Newman