Yield: 8 Servings
|2½ cup||Bread flour; approximately|
|1 pack||Dry yeast|
|2 tablespoons||Oil; olive oil preferred|
|1 cup||Hot water|
|8||7" squares of aluminum foil|
By Hand or Mixer 5 minutes: Into a large mixing or mixer bowl measure 1 cup flour and stir in the dry ingredients. Add the oil and hot water. Blend at low speed with a mixer flat beater for 30 seconds, increase to high for 3 minutes, or beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for an equal length of time. Stop the mixer. Stir in the balance of the flour, ½ cup at a time.
The dough should be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is moist, add a small amount of additional flour.
Kneading 6 minutes: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface--counter top or bread board---and knead with a rhythmic motion of push-turn-fold. Knead for about 6 minutes, or an equal length of time with a dough hook in the mixer.
By Processor 5 minutes: Attach the steel blade. Place 1 cup flour and the other dry ingredients in the work bowl. Pulse once or twice to blend the ingredients. Mix the oil with the hot water and pour through the feed tube.
Process for 15 seconds. Remove the cover and add flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball and rides on the blade.
Kneading 45 seconds: With the processor on, knead for 45 seconds. The dough should be soft and perhaps slightly sticky. Use sprinkles of flour to control stickiness. Turn from the bowl and knead by hand for a moment or two to be certain the dough is of the right consistency.
Preheat 20 minutes: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll into balls, cover with a towel or wax paper, and let rest for 20 minutes.
Shaping 5 minutes: With the palm of your hand flatten each ball into a disk. Finish with a rolling pin, flattening the dough into a disk about 6" in diameter and 3/16" thick. Their thinness is more important than making them perfectly round. Irregularity adds charm.
Place each round on a prepared piece of foil. Placing the rounds on the foil rather than on a baking sheet or stone allows a softer heat to surround the dough. A direct thrust of heat from a baking sheet would form a crust difficult to puff.
Carefully place 2 or 3 minutes of the breads directly on the oven shelf.
Bake for about 8 minutes, or until they are puffed. Repeat with the remaining disks. Place the pitas under the broiler for 2 minutes if browner crusts are desired. (If using a convection oven, reduce heat 50 degrees.) Final Step: Remove the breads from the oven and wrap in a large piece of foil. The tops will fall and there will be a pocket in the center. Serve warm, or let cool and freeze.
Thaw before using. To reheat, stack several in a pile, wrap with foil, and place in a 375-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
While this is a yeast dough, it puffs up because of steam. The yeast adds only flavor and texture. Don't overpower the dough with flour or it will be too dry to allow sufficient steam to be generated. Leave the dough on the soft side. Sprinkles of flour will take care of stickiness.
Source: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads Posted to MC-Recipe Digest by "M. Hicks" <nitro_ii@...> on Feb 13, 1998