Saturday, April 10, 2010

Three weeks........

and I'm outta here.  Some things that are helping are:  my great friends, though I don't spend nearly enough time with them.  Also, taking things a bit less seriously, as it will all be here when I get back.  And springtime.  It's been windy and a bit crisp, but the sun pokes it's head out more often now and everything's blooming.  Now we're in a waiting game for spring vegetables, and I've got a mean craving for lamb.  I had a dream about it the other night in which I hadn't called the farmer in time to put lamb on the menu and was wringing my hands because it would have to wait another week.  I'm not going to let that happen.  Lamb with salads....and fresh pita....mmmmm.

fresh pita:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp olive oil
1-1 1/4 cup tepid water

If you have a stand mixer, place all ingredients, in no particular order, into bowl with dough hook attachment, turn it on at the lowest speed and mix until dough clears the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  If dough looks too wet, add more flour in 1 Tbsp increments until it's no longer sticky.  Let rest for another 5 minutes, then mix again for another 2.  Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until it's smooth like a baby's bottom.  Place in an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm place 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size.  Punch down the dough and fold it over itself like a package, turn it over and let it rise again.  Now, turn it out onto an unfloured board and portion it out to approximately 5 ounce pieces and roll these into balls.  Place dough balls onto an unlined oiled sheet tray, oil their tops and cover with plastic.  Let rise again to double their size (I know this seems like a lot of rising, but it will help their flavor develop and also help them to puff up).  Dust with as little flour as possible so they don't stick and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Cook in a hot pan or on a grill (I use a grill pan) just until they're kind of dried out looking on the one side, about 30-45 seconds, then flip them over and cook the other side.   Stack the pitas on a warm plate.  Serve with anything you wish.
If you don't have a stand mixer, place your dry ingredients in a large bowl, creating a well in the center.  Pour in water and oil and with a fork, bring dry ingredients into wet a little at a time until a sticky dough forms.  Turn out onto a well floured surface and knead 5-10 minutes until smooth, then follow the instructions above for rising, etc.
With these pitas, I don't worry too much about them having a pocket, instead wrapping whatever I'm eating at the time in them and using lot's of napkins.  If you're after that pocket, one trick is to roll them out, let them sit for a few minutes, then spritz them with a bit of water before cooking.  Also, these can be baked in a hot oven on a sheet tray.  Turn an oven to full whack (450-500, as high as it will go), toss a sheet tray in there to heat up, and as the pitas are rolled, place them on your hot sheet tray.  Bake for 3-4 minutes.

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