January 22, 2010

Makin' the (Pita) Dough

I know I mentioned it before, but I am totally digging on this meatless monday thing I'm doing this year. I'm sure it will be difficult at times, but right now I love being able to make and eat new foods.
 
Well, not only am I trying to eat vegetarian one day a week, I'm also trying to save money. When Monday rolled around two weeks ago, I wasn't planning on grocery shopping for at least another week and I had very few high-protein low-fat foods laying around. I knew I had a can of chickpeas in the pantry, so I thought I'd try my hand at making falafel (which, when it is good, is one of my favorite things to eat). I had all of the (relatively inexpensive) ingredients for the falafel patties (chickpeas, herbs and spices, an egg, and some panko). The problem? I had no pita!
 
As anyone who has ever eaten a falafel or gyro, you know that often times the pita is the best part. It's not anything like the dry, bland pocket bread you ate as a kid (don't get me wrong, I love a good pita pizza when camping or a pita tuna melt), it is something soft and chewy and light, with a lot of flavor.
 
So I set out to find (and make) an delicious pita recipe. I hopped on to my favorite recipe web site, typed Pita Bread in to the search bar and came up with this recipe. I tweaked it a little bit (used 2/3 white flour, 1/3 whole wheat), and was so impressed when it turned out to be really tasty. The first one off the stove was gobbled up by my boyfriend in about 2 seconds. In fact, that night he ate a dinner of just pita bread and some tomato sauce.
 
That night was January 11th. We ate leftover pita bread for three days, I made more dough to share with some friends this Monday, and I made another batch for a potluck dinner that I had to go to this evening.
 
I'm serious. You need to make this recipe and then eat all of the pita. Don't share. You too will become obsessed with this super cheap/easy/tasty recipe!
 
The Recipe: 
 
1 packet of yeast
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tsp sugar
3 c flour (I did 2 cups white, 1 whole wheat)
1 tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp oil (I used a good olive oil)


 
 
 
 
 
Directions

1. Mix sugar, water, and yeast together and set aside to proof (10 minutes)

2. In your mixing bowl, combine other dry ingredients.

3. Once the yeast is foamy, add to dry ingredients along with oil. Mix well.

4. You may need to add some more flour or water, to get a slightly stiff/tacky dough. If you're using a stand mixer, you want the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

5. Turn dough out on to a floured surface and knead (or, if you're me, just let the dough hook on the mixer do it's thing. You don't need to kneed for a long time. 5-10 minutes should be fine.

6. Divide dough in to 18 egg sized balls and place on a floured surface. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Cooking:

1. Roll dough balls (one at a time) between two sheets of wax or parchment paper. You want to roll at least 1/4 inch thick.

2. Place each dough sheet on to a preheated skillet (medium low) and cook until it bubbles

3. Flip over and continue cooking until slightly golden brown.

4. Place pita in a large plastic bag to keep warm and moist while you cook the rest of the dough.

You can also freeze the dough after it rises (I flattened the dough balls slightly and layered them between plastic wrap). When you're ready to cook, let them defrost and come to room temperature before rolling out then cook as directed above.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Diana, this is such a good recipe! I made some last Monday and my rents made some two nights ago. Very successful!