I embarked on this month’s bread quest with hopeful enthusiasm. After all, if I could survive focaccia, pita couldn’t be too hard, right? I’m eternally thankful that the focaccia came before this easy and fun recipe. I think if I had sailed through the pita bread then hit the brick wall of foccacia, I would be seriously evaluating my fortitude for this journey!
This month at least I had all the necessary tools at my disposal – with the added purchase of the correct yeast this time.
Courage in one hand and greased spatula in the other, I began.
I read through the recipe a few times; not because it was complicated, but that I didn’t believe it could be so straight-forward. It was a gift of mercy for my 36-week pregnancy brain. Surely not even I could mess this one up! Trusting in Rose (and my mom via phone who assured me that yes, it was okay to just weigh and drop everything into the Kitchen Aid), I added everything as instructed and found that the sky didn’t fall nor did my mixer spontaneously explode. I did watch to make sure the cheeky thing didn’t walk itself off the counter like it tried to with the focaccia.
As the dough spun merrily around the paddle, then the dough hook, I admit I started pondering such existential questions like “Why a dough hook?”.. “Who invented the dough hook?” and most mind-bending, “Was Captain Hook secretly a bread-making whiz?”
Of course there could be only one way to solve these pressing riddles, and that was to head to the Google.
Who knew that waiting for dough to mix would create such an opportunity for philosophical questions of the universe?
Anyways, the pita. After the requisite time, here was my lovely dough.
Into the proofing box it went, ready to transform from doughy caterpillar to gluten-fortified butterfly.
Cold-proofing was not something I’d ever done before but it was fun to see that it worked just as easily as proofing in warm temperatures. And it’s also satisfying to punch down the dough at regular intervals – I sure showed that yeast who was boss of this kitchen.
It was about at this point that I wondered what to do with the pita when it was ready to be devoured. Delicious simplicity with olive oil? Run to the store for some hummus? Then I remembered a long-ago recipe sitting in my email for homemade nutburgers. Perfect! (I ignored the cynical voice in my head that said I was pushing the envelope of culinary creativity for one day but I ignored it, already deep in the throes of gastrointestinal mad-scientistry).
Here’s where my long-suffering husband proved his dependability and usefulness.
“Honey, would you mind running to the grocery store to pick up one or two things?”
“Sure, text me a list.”
(2 dozen items later)…
Sure, my swollen ankles protested at the amount of time I was spending on my feet in the kitchen, but gosh darnit I really wanted those nutburgers on fresh pita bread by now. It was becoming a moral imperative. So while the pita finished proofing, I mixed up the burgers and was ready to rock and roll.
Plenty of counterspace was essential for the next step of the pita recipe. One needs lots of elbowroom when transforming a big pile of dough into 8-12 little pita pieces. Lined up like little soldiers, they went from rounds to discs with rest periods (union breaks?) in between. It gave me enough time to get the burgers going in the griddle, so it was all working according to plan.
By now (getting late in the dinner hour), I was hearing choruses of “Are they done yet?!” from my daughter. It was about that time that I rushed a little bit and got a good-sized burn on my index finger for my troubles (trying to get a little corner of pita to lay flat on the pizza stone and misjudging the distance to the very hot top rack of the oven). I’m choosing to think of it as a well-earned battle scar.
And let me tell you, it was totally worth it to taste those pita breads fresh from the oven. Complete with big bubble spaces inside!
We tried one plain, dipped in olive oil. Simply amazing. But even better was having them stuffed with homemade nut-burgers.
Both husband and daughter put this on their “MAKE AGAIN!!” list of dinner options. And to me, there can be no higher compliment for a recipe.