For those surviving without ovens.

As an expat from the States, it can be difficult having loved and lost your oven... but there's a plethora of recipes to meet your tastebuds' needs using stovetop, crockpot, and even microwaving methods! This blog will provide recipes spanning from sidedishes to desserts, funky to traditional, and a few things in between. Enjoy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Whole wheat pita bread without an oven

1 packet (7g) instant dried yeast
250ml warm water (A U.S. cup plus a bit)
pinch of sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white bread flour (or strong flour; in Switzerland use Zopfmehl (farine de tresse)) (Using bread flour ensures there’s sufficient gluten in the dough.)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
Equipment needed:

a non-stick frying pan or two
lids to fit the pans
mixing bowl
clean washed pillow case
Mix together the warm water (from the tap is fine), yeast, and pinch of sugar. Leave in a warm place until frothy.

Mix together the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the liquid gradually, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add the oil, and as soon as it’s formed a ball start to knead. (If it’s a bit dry, add water drops at a time until it’s kneadable). Knead until smooth and pliable.

Put the dough ball in a plastic bag or in a clean bowl covered with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until more than doubled in bulk. In the winter, I find the ideal warm place is on top of a Big Ass PC case with gimpy motherboard which gives out excessive heat despite two cooling fans. This is one instance where I consider a PC to be superior for a task than a Mac.

After the dough has risen, punch it down and knead again. Cut into 8 to 12 equal pieces. Round off each piece into a smooth ball, and leave, covered with a damp cloth or plastic, to rest for about 10 minutes, on a floured surface. (This resting time I find is critical for the successful formation of the pocket inside the pita.)

Flatten the balls with your hand or a rolling pin to your desired diameter (for 12 pieces, about 5-6 inches / 12-15 cm is good). Let rest again for a few minutes so that the dough balls ‘relax’. [Edit: this was omitted before. It’s not critical, but if you’re having trouble getting a ‘pocket’ to form inside the pita, give this step a try.]

Heat up one or more non-stick frying pans, over medium-high heat.

Take a flattened ball and put in a hot frying pan. Cover with lid. Leave for about 2-3 minutes, until it puffs up. Flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Some will puff more than others - don’t worry if the puffing is minimal, you can still use it.

Take out of the pan and immediately put into the pillow case. Close up the pillow case. This allows the pita to cool in a somewhat closed environment, so the surface is sort of pliable rather than crispy and brittle. (You can, of course, use a large kitchen towel instead, but I thought you might have fun pointing out to your friends that there’s a crazy woman who wants you to use a pillow case for baking bread. And it works!)

Repeat for the rest of the dough. Once you get used to it, you can heat up 2, 3 or more frying pans at once and cook several at a time. I find that juggling two pans is my limit though, or the pitas get too black. A little charring is fine - it just adds to the flavor.

1 comment:

Lindsey Lett said...
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