Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Pita Bread Looks Funny

Yesterday I remembered something.  There is a reason that my rolling pin stays lonely and forgotten in the kitchen drawer.  I haven't made sugar cookies since high school, because my rolling pin skills stink.  I pulled it out yesterday, forgetting those long ago days of misshapen and torn pie crusts and inept looking cookies.  The next recipe bookmarked in my new book was pita bread.

My dear friend, Jill, apparently has been paying attention to the stuff I spew on my Facebook page.  She sent me the link to a great book, knowing that I would be interested.  (I love you, Jill!)  Marin County wife and mother loses her job, and decides to find out if it's cheaper/better to make or buy some grocery items.  Jennifer Reese is a woman after my own heart.  She is bolder than I am (and has a very understanding, patient, and accommodating husband!) in that I don't believe that I will cure my own bacon "from scratch" or eat one of my chickens unless there is a horrible catastrophic event and there are no grocery stores or butcher shops left in the world.  After reading the book description, I decided that I wanted to read Make the Bread, Buy the Butter.  Jennifer makes this a romp through the grocery store and her kitchen ... and her back yard and neighborhood, as she brings home goats, chickens, and even bees, and tests her recipes on her patient (if often skeptical) family.

I want to - and will - try most of the recipes in this book.  I read it cover to cover (well, as much of a cover as you can find on an e-book) and then started going back to the bookmarked recipes that I want to try.  I've made a few that I haven't blogged about, but I recently decided to get methodical about this and start from the beginning, working my way to the end.  As I hit those recipes I've already made, I'll tell you all about them.

You might think I'm on a bread kick, but really, I just happen to be on that chapter!  Yesterday's adventure was pita bread.

According to Jennifer, the key to making pita with pockets is a hot-hot-hot oven with a hot-hot-hot pizza stone.  Thank goodness I didn't decide to try this in July.  As it is, heating the pizza stone on the bottom rack of my oven yesterday morning burned off all sorts of missed things that I didn't know were in there and would smoke up the house.  It was a cool spring morning, so opening the windows wasn't a problem.

I futzed with the rolling pin.  The dough stuck to it.  I floured.  I got flour all over.  I forgot to wear my apron.  I got impatient.  I realized that 16 pitas from this recipe at 1/4" each was too many, at least for the dough I produced.  I modified the amount halfway through the dough.  Most of my pita circles weren't exactly circles, but I put them on the hot baking stone anyway.  I waited impatiently for eight minutes.  I didn't peek.

There are definitely pockets in my pitas.  They look like little bread balloons, but I think that's okay.  They aren't flat, plastic-packaging- and store-shelf-ready, but they are probably closer to the original concept than today's store-bought pitas, which often tear apart as you try to open the "pocket." 

Most of them aren't circular, but they taste ...


Especially with homemade cream cheese stuffed into the pocket.  Hee.  I'll bet that when I learn to make them the proper size they might even be a great substitute for hamburger buns, and we can stuff that Amazing BBQ Pulled Chicken inside!

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