No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Pitta (pita) breads

The pitta on the left was done in a hot oven
The one on the right was done in a frying pan
(Makes about 8 medium sized pittas)

200g strong white flour
200g strong wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
250ml lukewarm water
1 teaspoon of any sort of yeast, dissolved in the water
Tablespoon olive oil (optional)

1. Measure the water and stir in the yeast. Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. When the yeast is dissolved (dried will take longer than fresh) pour in all the yeast liquid, then add the olive oil if using. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). 
2. Hold the bowl with one hand and begin to stir with the other. Mix together into a soft dough, stirring and bringing in the flour round the side of the bowl, adding more flour or water as needed. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by flattening the dough out, folding it over and flattening it again. Knead until the dough becomes smooth – and then stop before you get fed up! (If the dough is too sticky, instead of putting extra flour on your worktop, place some in the bowl, put the dough back in and turn it round to coat it all over. That way you keep the flour under control and you won’t be tempted to add too much).

4. Leave the dough on the worktop, covered with the mixing bowl for about an hour – or go ahead and shape the pittas straight away.

5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape them into rounds. Flour the worktop and roll each piece out into circles about 15-18cm across.

6. Place them in pairs on a piece of baking parchment and cover them with a dry teatowel. Leave them to rise for about 20 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, turn the oven on to its highest setting – mine is about 245C and place a couple of baking trays in there.

8. When the oven is hot enough, place each pair of pittas on an upturned baking sheet and slide them off onto the hot baking sheets in the oven. Bake four at a time. The pittas should swell to form the pocket. This should take around 4-5 minutes, take them out when they begin to colour. Repeat with the other four pittas.

9. Wrap them in a teatowel to keep them soft.

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