Bread 1 of 36, Pita Bread! I hadn't planned on making pita bread the first bread of the year, but I was craving hummus and hummus is just not the same without pita chips. I can't say enough how happy I am that pita bread was the first bread of my 36. It was really easy to make and pretty exciting to watch bake. Starting out the year with a successful bread is very encouraging.
Recipe from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Ingredients: Unbleached all-purpose flour, salt, instant yeast, olive oil, water. Prep: about 15 minutes which includes 10 minutes for kneading in the mixer. Rise: Easy as could be. Transfer dough to a covered proofing bowl and put in the refrigerator. Watch the dough for the first 4 hours and lightly press down dough if it starts to rise. The dough can then be left in the refrigerator up to 3 days. *See note at bottom of post. (Refrigerating the dough overnight improves the flavor of the bread.)
When ready to bake, cut the dough into 8-12 pieces. They don't have to be the same size pieces, as long as they are rolled out to about the same height (about 1/4 inch), they will bake even. The most tedious part was the rolling and it really wasn't that bad. This would be a great bread to bake with kids. They will especially enjoy watching the bread bake. I know I did.
Each batch took 3 minutes.
Voila....pita bread! The flavor, the texture, absolutely wonderful. The author of the book wrote that once you try fresh pita bread you will be hooked, she was right. I'm hooked and am really glad it is so easy to make. I will be attempting wheat pita bread in the future to make it a bit healthier.
Smoked paparika hummus, yum! (Recipe from: Cooks Illustrated)
Pita chips: Cut pita bread into bite sized pieces. Spray sheet pan with cooking oil and place pita pieces on pan. Spray both sides of pita pieces with cooking oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 degrees until crisp (about 5-10 minutes).
*(A few notes from a non-expert, me) I researched some other recipes and some do suggest letting the dough rise 1-2 hours at room temperature and then either bake, or transfer the dough to the refrigerator. (Be sure to de-gas the dough before transferring to the refrigerator by pushing down on the dough.) I transferred the dough immediately to the refrigerator and baked it the following day. Either way, I would recommend refrigerating overnight, the flavor results will be worth it. Also, make sure the dough has doubled in size before baking. You can mark the proofing bowl where it should rise to help determine if the dough has doubled.