Sunday, June 24, 2007
My theory is that some people are very good at baking with yeast and some people are very good at baking pie crusts and very few people are very good at both. It’s just a theory. I’m not sure if I came up with it all on my own or if my grandmother Gagee stated it as a fact in order to make me feel better. As a young child, I liked baking bread and rolls. I happened to be good at it, which was a natural and powerful reinforcer to baking. But pie crusts - not so much. Even years later, when Pillsbury came out with a pre-rolled, refrigerated pie crust which I only had to drop in the the dish and crimp, I still managed to make a lousy pie crust!
Over the years my two favorite yeast bread recipes have been an “English Muffin Toasting Bread” and “Two Day Rolls”. So naturally, when Buréka Boy over at Is That My Buréka? posted his Pita 101 Recipe back in February, I was intrigued. He writes clear recipes interspersed with lots of step by step photos. He has a warm chatty style and often includes a bit of history. But back in February my stove was on its last legs and I had difficulty getting the oven to heat reliably. But a week or so ago he posted his alternate cooking method under the heading Summer Pita. In this variation, instead of baking the pitas in a very hot oven, you griddle them on top of the stove. Hmmmm.... We just replaced our stove a couple of weeks ago, so I have a great oven, but this new range has three continuous grates. The middle grate can be swapped out for a griddle. OK! Where’s my yeast?!
This morning I made 8 small loaves of homemade pita bread. They were not perfect, in that they did not all poof up that magical little steam bubble which creates the pocket. But they are delicious. The ingredients are simple and it made a lovely, silky textured dough which was elastic and not at all sticky. Next time (and Chuck let me know how much he wants there to be a next time!) I would roll them out a teensy bit thinner. But that’s the only thing I would change. And next time I’ll have a better feel for the temperature of the new griddle. All in all, not a bad first effort.
I served them today with sliced cucumber rounds, wedges of tomato, feta cheese and olives. I also made a coarsely textured white bean spread with lots of gently sauteed garlic and a touch of lemon and tahini. It’s a nice variation on a chick pea hummus.
Many thanks to Buréka Boy!