Home-made pitta bread is such a treat, and with a breadmaker to make the initial dough, it's not a lot of bother. I love the way they puff up and become hollow.
|1 lb 2 oz (500 g) strong white bread flour, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting|
|2 teaspooons easy-blend dried yeast|
|1 oz (25 g) butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for greasing|
|1½ teaspoons salt|
|Need help with conversions?|
|You will also need a breadmaker, and a baking tray measuring 11 x 16 inches (28 x 40 cm), lightly greased.|
To make the dough, tip all the ingredients, along with 11 fl oz (310 ml) water, into the breadmaker in the order stated in your manual. Then set the machine to the dough-only setting (as the pittas are going to be baked in the oven). Now simply press start and let the machine do all the work.
When you are ready to bake the pittas, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425°F (220°C). Then transfer the dough from the breadmaker to a flat, lightly floured surface, divide it into 12 equal portions and roll out three of them to oval shapes measuring roughly 4 x 8 inches (10 x 20 cm), covering the remaining dough with a clean tea cloth. Dust the tops lightly with flour and place them on the baking tray. Now pop them into the oven, on a high shelf, and bake them for 8-10 minutes, or until they have become golden and puffy.
Meanwhile, prepare the next three portions and when the first ones are ready, remove them from the oven and wrap them in another tea cloth. (If they're allowed to cool without this, they get too crisp, and a pitta should be soft, not crunchy.) Now just carry on cooking and wrapping the rest of the pittas. It's nice to serve them fresh from the oven with Hummus or Tunisian Aubergine Salad or, if you're making them in advance, warm them through briefly in the oven before serving.
_This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three._
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If you want to make the proper authentic version of this you'll need to hunt out some tahini paste, which is available at supermarkets and health-food shops.
This is my adaptation of an Elizabeth David recipe. I never actually made it from her book, but one of my favourite restaurants, Chez Bruce, in Wandsworth, London, regularly serves it as a first course.
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