I think my favourite part of this new cookbook that I can’t stop talking about is that it’s full of ideas. Do you have some leftover egg whites? Make meringues! Throw in some sesame seeds! How about looking for a breakfast that isn’t too boring, but is still quick and easy? Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes! Have a butternut squash that you don’t know what to do with? Here’s 12 different ideas! It’s really a great resource to have around for inspiration for every day meals.
It’s even better when you aren’t looking for anything in particular. Just flipping through the pages to see what is in there and what is much easier to do on your own than you’d ever thought. Ok, so peeling chestnuts didn’t turn out so well – but at least he warned that it wasn’t an easy endeavour. Don’t think I’ll ever be doing that one again.
Pita from scratch… I never would’ve thought to do that. But it turns out it’s easy! Like, really easy. Sure, it takes a few hours to rise (it is a bread product after all), but the hands-on time is very limited. And while my first ever attempt wasn’t *perfect*, they came out pretty darn tasty.
What you’ll need for 8 reasonably sized pita… you can make more smaller pitas, or less big ones:
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more as needed (I used white bread flour)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (one package)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- Melted Butter (optional – I left this out, but I think it would’ve helped)
- Combine flour, olive oil, yeast, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Turn it on, and slowly add 1 cup of water through the feed tube.
- Process for about 30 seconds adding more water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky. If it’s dry, add more water. If it’s sticky, add more flour (any additions should only be about a tablespoon at a time).
- Transfer the dough to a big bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1-2 hours until it doubles in size. [Nice tip from Bittman: If you don’t want to actually bake the pita for several hours, you can let it rise slowly in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. You could also wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it for up to a month, defrosting in a covered bowl.]
- When the dough is ready, form it into a ball and divide it into 8 balls (or fewer/more for larger/smaller pitas – Bittman says it can make anywhere from 6-12 pitas…. I made 8, and I liked the size of my pitas). Form each piece into a round ball and set it on a floured surface to rise for about 20 minutes more.
- Flour each ball well, and flour your rolling pin. Roll each piece to less than 1/4″ thickness, turning and flouring as needed. Place each disk on a floured surface, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Bake in a preheated oven set to 350°F. If you have a pizza stone, use it (let it preheat in the oven), otherwise use a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes, turning over once during baking to brown slightly on both sides. If you’re eating them right away, brush with butter when they are still warm.
My caveat: I was convinced mine weren’t baking properly. They never really browned, even though I left them in for longer than suggested. They puffed up a LOT in the oven, and though they did deflate a bit when I turned them and then again after taking them out, I was worried they wouldn’t be cooked properly and would either be too dry or not cooked properly in the middle. Turns out my fears were unfounded: They tasted pretty darn good. A few of them were a bit too crisp on the outside, but I’m sure that’s because I cooked them a wee bit too long.
Next time I think I’ll add more flavour to it – either in the form of whole wheat flour (only substituting half of the white flour for whole wheat), or maybe adding some toasted sesame seeds or something. Definitely worth it if you have the time to do it.