The stay-at-home order in Washington State was extended with some modifications…so now, we are in “phase 2”. What was life before the pandemic? Will things return to normal? The boys are doing great! Online learning is working well for them. They take walks in the park with our neighbors and their dogs every day, and they have each other to play with. But, on the other hand, I feel claustrophobic and badly miss the quiet days that I used to have. I even miss little things that I complained about, like finding parking near the school or the line to get coffee at my local café. So when I need to cheer myself up, I go to the kitchen. Something about cooking and baking makes me happy, and I love making Pitas. Pitas made at home are worlds apart from the stuff you find in stores.
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Pita Bread with Za’atar
For the Pitas
- 3 1/2 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour + a little more
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil+ a little more for greasing
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) lukewarm water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a large standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, yeast, and sugar. Mix for 1 minute
- Add 2 spoons of olive oil and water, and mix until blended.
- Add the salt, and let the mixer knead at a slow speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth, shiny, and a little bit sticky! (You can also knead by hand, it’s great exercise!). If the dough is not coming together add a tiny bit of water.
- Grease the dough with a little bit of oil, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
Make the Za’atar spread:
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Flour the work surface.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (about 85-100 grams per piece). Roll into balls the size of baseballs. Cover with a damp cloth and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Roll each dough ball to about ¼-inch (½ cm) thickness with a rolling pin.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place up to 3-4 pitas onto the baking sheet (keep the rest of the dough balls covered).
- Brush with the za’atar mix (about 1 tablespoon for each pita).
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Repeat with remaining pita rounds until all are baked. Cover with a kitchen towel until ready to serve.
- Serve warm, ideally on the same day, or keep in the freezer until ready to be enjoyed.
Tips and Tricks:
- These pitas will stay flat and will not have a pocket (because of the za'atar spread and the low heat).
- Baked pita bread is best enjoyed fresh and hot out of the oven. Leftover pitas should be stored in the freezer.