Pita Breads Recipe

At some time back in 1993 I put out a dish of flour and water at the foot of the biggest pyramid in Egypt.  Within about two days I was feeding someone whom I eventually realized was the Queen of the Pyramids.  We developed a pretty hot relationship for awhile and she let me call her “La Giza” when no one else was around.  She told me she had been busy for a time feeding the guys who were building the pyramids but life had become pretty boring for the last several thousand years.  It seemed like a good time to ask if she’d show me how to bake some bread and she asked what kind.  I said how about pitas.  She said she’d never heard of them so I drew a picture of one in the sand.  Oh, that’s a Khubz Arabi like I use as a covering for sandwiches she said and told me I was welcome to pass it along.  So here it comes!

Makes 8 pitas (Khubz Arabi)

2 cups active La Giza culture from the culture proof
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
Cornmeal or semolina as needed

 

Culture Proof
(Ingredients in addition to above)
Mix 1 cup of fully active culture with 1 cup of flour and sufficient water to produce a thick pancake batter consistency and proof this for 6-8 hours at 65-70oF if you prefer a mild flavor or at 75-85oF if you want it more sour.

Dough Proof
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.  Turn on to a floured board and knead until dough is satiny then divide into 8 equal balls.

Loaf Proof
Roll the balls into flat rounds about ¼ inch thick and form them into two stacks with the rounds separated by wax paper, not plastic.  Proof the stacks for 30-60 minutes.

Baking
Preheat oven and baking stone to 500oF.  Sprinkle stone with cornmeal or semolina just before transferring pitas with a bakers peel to slide rounds onto heated stone.  Bake for about 5 minutes or until rounds puff.  Remove with a spatula and cool on wire racks.

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