Round, flat, arabic bread (pita)

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 tablespoon Dry yeast; (1 pkg)
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 cup Warm water
15 cups White flour; unbleached
4½ tablespoon Salt
5 cups Warm water
\N \N (add 1 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk; optional
\N \N To water and beat well)
3 tablespoons 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, ¼ 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.

>From: Jenny L. Berger <jjberger@...> From: Bread-Bakers Archives: Recipe By : Lebanese Mountain Cookery, Hammady

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