Pitta Bread - EishBaladi
Adapted from “Egyptian Vegetarian Cooking” by Maghur Jaffey
450 g strong flour (half white, half wholemeal)
1 tsp salt
8g dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp olive oil
Combine yeast and sugar in 50ml lukewarm water in a cup and set aside for 5-6 minutes to develop.
Sift flour and salt together in a large warm bowl.
Make a depression in the centre of the flour. Pour in the yeast and 250ml luke warm water and olive oil. Gently gather the dough and knead into a ball, adding a couple more tablespoons of water if needed. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
(Note: alternatively if you have a blender with a dough setting, you can place the sifted flour and salt, the yeast/sugar mixture, and the water and oil into the blender and knead for 2-3 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in a bowl covered in plastic, and put in a warm draught-free place for 1.5 hours.
Sprinkle some flour on a warm bench. Up-end dough onto bench and fold over and over, knocking the size down, Knead gently and make a long roll. Cut into 12 evenly-sized pieces. Place a lightly floured tea-towel over the dough.
Take the first piece, fold it over and pulling underneath along the benchtop with your fingers to tension the top surface. Repeat 1 or 2 times, making it into a ball with one even surface. The idea is to hold the air contained within the dough. Place under tea-towel and repeat with all other pieces. Leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200C (using pizza setting or similar).
Using a floured rolling pin on a floured bench, gently roll first dough ball into a thin flat round, taking care not to burst any air bubbles that might be on the surface. Tuck under a floured tea-towel. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Flour a griddle or pizza stone. Place on lowest shelf in oven to heat up.
Prepare 2 slightly damp tea towels on a tray (for the cooked pitta).
Place two dough rounds onto the floured griddle/pizza stone in the oven, and cook for 2-4 minutes until the pitta puffs up. Turnover and cook second side for 2-3 minutes.
Place cooked Pitta within damp tea-towels and repeat with remaining dough balls.