Thursday, April 15, 2010

34. Armenian Pita Bread - Pied Piper Calling

The fragrance of  bread being baked is unmistakable and might even coax sleepy heads out of their beds in the early morning...fresh bread is the Pied Piper of the kitchen. It is also a great comfort food that can make a hard day seem better, a sad day happier and a cold day cozy.

 Today we have more baked-goods choices than those I remember from my childhood. Back then, bread came in loaf or roll form of one sort or another. There were crusty Italian and French loaves, cinnamon, kaiser and onion rolls...tender white, dense wheat cakes...raised and filled doughnuts...rye and dark breads...but, that was about it. In Midwest towns and villages, bread that spoke of exotic cultures and foreign lands was just not available.

 People, in general, were exposed to more things as the age of television grew up and, almost overnight, the world became a lot smaller. Interest in food also began to broaden. Cooking programs drew wide audiences and celebrity cooks and chefs had to compete by coming up with interesting and often exotic formulas. Sometimes they got a little carried away with recipes that no one in their right mind would make, but other times we were given the gift of a recipe that I called a keeper...something I would try and love and keep.

The first time I saw a television chef shape little, flat circles of dough and then, magically pull them out of the oven as puffed-up pillows, I couldn't wait to make some for myself. Of course, they were loaves of pita bread. Throughout the years, I have tried several pita recipes and the one shared below, has been the most successful.

Armenian Pita Bread

2.5 t yeast
2 C flour
1.5 t salt
1.5 t sugar
1 C water

Add all ingredients in the order suggested by bread machine. Process on dough cycle. Remove dough from machine. The dough will be sticky. Divide into 8 pieces. Roll each to form a 5 inch circle.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

*Preheat lightly greased baking sheet. Turn sheet upside down...for some reason, this was the direction given and this is how I bake these. Place circles on pan. Bake 6-8 min. By preheating the baking sheet, the pitas are almost guaranteed to puff up.

This recipe may be doubled. Pita bread freezes well.

If you don't have a bread machine...just follow the general directions for mixing, kneading, raising bread.

Any pita loaves that do not puff up can be eaten at least 2 ways.
A. Pile sandwich food on top of pita and fold the bread slightly and eat. B. Tear pieces off the round and use them as food scoops for stews or soups...delicious.

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