Friday, October 18, 2013

KHOUBZ aka PITA: IN AN INSTANT

Khoubz in Arabic, pita in the West via Greece. Whatever you call it, it's easy to make at home! And don't give up even if the first couple of times your loaves aren't the best or the roundest because... well because you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs. So get to it!

I wanted to try making bread with instant yeast which I never use because it just sounds soul-less. And I am glad I tried it, because now I know why I never use instant yeast. Can't make an omelette without you-know-what!

Of course, it's better to use instant yeast and have bread rather than having none at all, but I missed the flavour of the yeast and delicious yeast-y smell of bread in the oven. If you have time, use the yeast dough method in my pizza dough post. Or make both a couple of times and see if you prefer one over the other.





Khoubz, or Pita
Makes: 8 - 10 loaves

- 3 cups flour
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar, I use demerara
- 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 packet)
- 1-1/2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup milk

- 2 tbs olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, mix the yeast, flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 cup water and mix to form a ball of dough. If the dough is not holding together and is crumbly, add more water 1 - 2 tbsp. at a time. Mix the water really well into the dough each time - don't let the water just remain on the surface of the dough otherwise all you'll get is a sticky mess!
  2. Once you have a ball of dough, put it on the counter-top, baking tray, or cutting board and knead for approximately 5 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and supple. A simple hand kneading technique is to firmly press down on the dough with the palm of your hand, fold the dough in half toward you like you are closing an envelope, rotate the dough 90 degrees and then repeat these steps. But really, knead however you want and do whatever it takes to make that dough smooth like a baby's bum.
  3. Oil your palms with a tsp of olive oil and shape the dough into a ball. Let it rest in a covered bowl in a draft-free, warm place such as an unheated oven. After 60 - 90 minutes when the dough has risen and doubled in size, push it down gently to release some of the yeasty gases and divide the dough into 8 - 10 pieces.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 F/220 C with or without a pizza stone.
  5. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 15 - 20 minutes. Or, roll each ball of dough into a circle, and let it rest in baking trays or any other flat surface for 15 - 20 minutes.
  6. Put 2-3 or however many uncooked pita loaves fit without being crowded on your baking surface and bake for 5-6 minutes. When the bread puffs up and takes on a slight brown colour, remove from the oven. The bread *will* brown and eventually burn if you leave it in the oven for even a minute longer than 5-6 minutes. 425 F/220 C is hot!
  7. If you're not eating these immediately, take them out of the oven, put them in a large container and cover with a damp towel until you're ready to use them. Reheat as needed.

3 comments:

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  2. Those look beautiful, Payal! Looks like they were rolled thick... is that required for creating the pocket?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Tulika! Rolling them thick isn't required for making the pocket at all. These were rolled thick simply because I didn't have a rolling pin at hand since I was not at my place, and I rolled these with a slim grappa bottle! I typically roll them thinner. I've also been stuck without a rolling pin or anything else to roll with before, and had to just pat them by hand and they were ok.

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