Monday, November 26, 2012

Pita Bread and new yeast

I used to make bread every week for big L.  She used to eat jam sandwiches.  It was a bit of work.  Some weekends it was a challenge.  One week, I bought pita pockets from the store, that were okay for her to eat, which was a joy.  The only problem is there is only one brand she can eat, and she will only eat whole wheat.  The store is always running out of them. 

Today I decided to try my hand at making them myself. 

It was pretty easy, but I didn't get a poof in the middle, so I think I needed to let them rise a little longer, or something. 

It was easy.  Made the dough, let it rise, split it into balls, cook for a couple minutes.  Viola!

Emeril's Whole Wheat Pita Bread
1 1/2 cup of warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of honey
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsps salt
flour for kneading/dusting

  1. Pour water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer with dough hook attached. Add yeast, olive oil and honey. Allow yeast to bloom until it begins to foam, about 5 minutes. Add flour, then salt. Mix on medium speed for one minute. Turn the mixer down to low and mix for 2 minutes longer. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix 2 minutes longer. If at any point the dough wraps completely around the hook and is no longer kneading, turn off the machine, scrape the dough off the hook back into the bowl and return to mixing. Transfer dough to a clean work surface and knead by hand for one minute longer or until you have a round, smooth, elastic dough. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a medium sized bowl. Place dough into bowl and coat with the oil by turning over. Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a moderately warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, usually about 2 hours.
  2. Position an up-side down 18 x 13 aluminum sheet pan or a baking stone on the middle rack in the oven.
  3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  4. Transfer the proofed dough to a clean work surface and knead it by hand until it is round, smooth and elastic, about one minute. Divide the dough into 16 pieces, (2 ounces each) and shape into balls. Cover with a clean towel and allow to proof until expanded slightly in size, about 20 minutes.
  5. Dust a clean work surface with all-purpose flour. Roll dough into 6-inch circles. You may stack them between parchment paper or clean towels. Carefully and quickly place them in the oven directly on the baking sheet or stone. You may bake 2 or 3 at a time. Cook pitas for 2 minutes or until puffed. Remove with a metal spatula. Repeat with remaining dough. Serve hot or at room temperature. Once cooled, pitas may be stored in a re-sealable plastic storage bag for up to 2 days.
  6. Alternatively, the dough may me made a day ahead. After the dough has been kneaded and put into the bowl with the olive oil, place it into the refrigerator to proof overnight. The next day, pull dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at least 2 hours before proceeding with the recipe.
I used a baking stone.  I did not give it the whole two hours to rise, so that may be why my puff is missing.  They did however puff up nicely. 

I actually made bread this weekend in my bread maker as well.  I used up all my Fleishmans yeast and so I opened up my new yeast.  I decided to change brands of yeast because I have been having a hard time getting a good rise out of my whole wheat breads.  I tried the brand at Costco it was horrible.  I decided to try go with the brand sold by King Aurthur Flour, which has quickly become my favorite flour, we especially love the white whole wheat.  It works well in pancakes, and other lighter breads you want white flour for normally.

SAF Red Instant Yeast was awesome.  My dough for the pitas doubled in 1 hour!  My bread in the bread machine rose and stayed that way throughout the baking cycle.  It was great!  I didn't have to work twice as hard to get a nice loaf of bread.  

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