I am going to a party tonight to which I foolishly volunteered to bring a “snack.” Since it is my busy season at work and I have spent the last two weekends partying hard, I have not gone to the grocery store in three weeks. So this morning I looked around my kitchen and thought, I can bring rice, wheat or oats. None of that seemed particularly festive, so I perused my cookbooks for inspiration. Nada. I sat and stared and then I thought, we have way too much wheat. What can I make with flour?
Pita bread, I decided. I have never made pita bread before but proceeded gamely to look up recipes in cookbooks and the web. I cobbled together the surprisingly easy recipe that follows and then made some hummus to go with it. Next time I will try increasing the amount of whole wheat I use, but this time I was under social pressure so I used 2/3 all purpose flour to make sure it didn’t come out like bricks.
To add the water to the flour in this recipe, I poured it into the pusher thingee that goes into my food processor’s feeding tube. It has a little hole in it and until I read a piece on the glory of food processors by Mark Bittman in the NY Times, I never realized what the hole could do. It allows you to dribble water into the dough. It is a brilliant.
RECIPE: PITA BREAD
- 1 cup whole wheat flour, home grown if you have it
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt or local NY coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
In a food processor, mix together the flours, olive oil, yeast, salt and sugar. Leaving the food processor running, slowly dribble in the water and mix for about a minute after the water is all incorporated into the dough. The dough will form a sticky blob.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board, knead it a couple of times to form it into a smoothish ball. Place the ball into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 2 to 3 hours.
When the dough has about doubled in size, divide it into 12 parts (or more or less depending on your internal concept of pita). Form the dough into balls and let them rest on a floured board covered with a towel for 20 minutes.
Place a pizza stone or a well oiled, really tough baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven, as low as it can go. Turn the oven on to 500 degrees.
While the oven is preheating, roll out the balls of dough into thin circles.
When the oven is hot, place three or four of the circles of dough onto the pizza stone. Bake for 4 minutes, then turn over and bake for two more minutes. Remove from oven. Press down on the pita with a spatula to push some of the hot air out and then store them immediately in a plastic bag. Repeat until you bake all pitas.
I cut my pita into points for dipping in homemade hummus. You can use them whatever way you want.
As a final note, the real trick to homemade hummus is to grind it really fine in a blender, as opposed to a food processor, so that it doesn’t come out grainy. There is nothing culinary that pisses me off as much as grainy hummus.