I love baking with yeast. It’s like having little minions that go to work to impart your baked goods with flavour and air. Chemical reactions, like baking powder, are fun, but baking with live organisms is way more interesting. We went to see Alton Brown Live on Friday night, and anyone who was a fan of Good Eats knows that he has these “yeast” sock puppets that burp and fart their way through the show, whenever he talks about yeast. He told us on Friday that The Powers That Be at Food Network insisted that he had to have 7 burps for every fart, for whatever reason. In the 15 or so minutes between the house opening and the show starting, he had a video running on a big screen on stage, where the yeast sock puppets entertained us. As he pointed out, the version running on stage had reversed the ratio, and had 7 farts to every burp, since he didn’t have sponsors to answer to, for his tour. 🙂
The dough’s pretty straightforward. Flour, a bit of sugar, salt, yeast, olive oil, and water.
I’ve made these once before, and I realized when I finished making this recipe (and reading the end notes) that it’s the same one I made on the weekend, for pizza, for Saturday night’s supper.
After the dough has had a chance to rest in the fridge – mine went overnight – you split it into 8, and roll each of the 8 into a ball, which you then flatten. Let that sit for 20 minutes, before rolling them out.
What an exciting picture.
After they’re rolled to a little under 1/4″ thick – 6-8 inches, I’d guess, they’re ready for the oven, after sitting for about 10 minutes. I figured it probably took me 10 minutes to roll them out, so the first few were ready for the oven by the time I finished rolling.
Rose recommends doing a test bake first, which is what I captured and turned into an animated gif at the top of this post. Sorry for the blurriness – my oven has a metal grid behind the window, so it makes it challenging to take pictures of work in progress. Some of them puffed up halfway, before getting stuck and having air escape before it could puff completely. If you look closely in the gif, this is what happens – it reaches peak puff, then subsides slightly. I knew once it had subsided that there was no point in leaving it in any longer.
My pitas will be used tomorrow night for tuna melts for supper. You may notice that there’s only 7 on the cooling rack, but this recipe makes 8. I have no idea what happened to that first test pita, fresh out of the oven. 😉
Verdict: Yum. Especially fresh from the oven. Given that this is the second time I’ve made these, I’m sure they’ll be a repeat again in the future, too.
Coincidentally, my advisor from grad school emailed me a picture of a pile of pitas on Sunday afternoon. He said he went to an earlier Palm Sunday Mass than the rest of the family and came home to make a pile of pitas for the family’s lunch. I asked if he was following the bake-along, but he said not. He figured Holy Week might increase the odds of people choosing to make Middle-Eastern flatbread, but I think in this case, it’s just coincidence, given that The Bread Bible Bake-through is following Marie’s original ordering.