Who says growing up means leaving playdates behind? I’m all for continuing to do fun stuff with friends regardless of age and in my case it’s often about working together in the kitchen. Foodforfun chronicled just such a playdate last January and has another to share today.
Past membership in a local Mom’s Club introduced me to other like-minded moms who manage to squeeze as much cooking and baking as possible into already busy lives. While I’m no longer officially in the club, I still keep in touch and enjoy the occasional cup of coffee or baking session with members. One of these members, Stephanie (a mom with three boys under six–yowza), had me over today to bake pita bread.
We had communicated earlier to select a recipe and because of the long rise time, each mixed up our batch of whole wheat pita bread dough the night prior to baking. The dough rose overnight (I had meant to refrigerate it, but forgot. No matter–punched it down and let it rise again.) and I brought it to Stephanie’s late morning. At this point, we only needed to divide, roll, bake, cool, and eat.
As always, I got a kick out of watching these flatbreads puff up in the oven as the steam builds in the dough.
The entire process took only an hour and between us we had sixteen amazingly yummy, soft rounds of pita bread. They cooled briefly on wooden cooling racks that had been made by Stephanie’s grandfather, then were shuttled into resealable plastic bags to keep them soft. The final step was sandwich making and enjoying the fruits of our labors.
Our recipe came from a baking book I was proud to have edited a few years back: At Home With Bread. It’s full of fun (and good-for-you) baking finds, including the sourdough English muffins mentioned here before. My take on this pita bread is the same as that for the English muffins–once you’ve tried them, you’ll never go back to purchasing. They’re too easy to make and taste far better than store-bought. If you like to bake, I encourage you to give homemade pita bread a go. Whether you make it a social event and call in friends or bake a batch solo, you’ll end up with fresh, warm, and amazing pita bread.
Arabian Pita Pockets
from Lisa Golden Schroeder’s At Home With Bread
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Yellow cornmeal
In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in salt, oil and whole wheat flour; beat until smooth. Beat in as much of the all-purpose flour as needed to make a firm dough (about 1 3/4 cups).
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead 10 minutes or until very smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place in greased bowl; turn dough greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 450°F; have oven rack at lowest position. Sprinkle large baking sheets or baking stone with cornmeal. Punch dough down; divide into 8 equal pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat each piece into 7- or 8-inch (1/8-inch-thick) round. Transfer to baking sheets. Bake on lowest rack 6 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Cool on wire rack 2 minutes covered with damp kitchen towel. Slide warm pitas into heavy plastic storage bags to soften. Makes 8 pitas.