Have you ever read the book or seen the movie Julie & Julia? Before I saw the film I had never even read a blog. For some reason I didn't have any interest in blogs, I didn't know how to find blogs to read and certainly had no idea that blogging could provide me with a much needed creative outlet. But after seeing the movie I was truly fascinated with the idea of making every single recipe in a cookbook. I don't think I'll start that project any time soon - but you never know. Never say never! I was inspired however, to do a whole year of pies but need to pick something a little less fattening if I do that again.
Blogging is, and can be, whatever you make of it. To me blogging is an adventure. I've learned so much about foods I had never tried before and you know food is fun. I'm also more experienced with a camera and that has been one of the most rewarding perks of all.
Another great pleasure has been getting to know more about the talented chefs of our time. As I was already fascinated with Julia Child it goes without saying that I needed cookbooks, make that several cookbooks that showcase her work and style. This wonderful book is based on the PBS series hosted by Julia Child and written by Dorie Greenspan. I highly recommend picking up a copy for your collection. The rich detailed explanations and common-sense tidbits of information are like treasures to a baker.
I can cook, but love to bake and homemade pita bread sounded like a fun project. Pitas are a freak of nature if you ask me. How in the world do these little pieces of dough puff up into hollow pockets ready to be stuffed, split, toasted, topped and dipped?
Even though all my pitas didn't come out perfectly puffed, they were delicious and split into two halves with just a flick of the knife. Baking is part science and a big part passion. You gotta love the dough and believe it or not ... it was super easy.
By the time I rolled out my final dough ball, my pitas were coming out much better being fully puffed and ready to split. I found it's best not to mess with the dough once you cut them into pieces. Don't fold them over or tuck it underneath. Try to press them into rounds then roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Any thinner and they didn't puff well.
Will I make these again? You bet - and I'm also reading that cookbook cover to cover.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (90 degrees)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
In a large bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Add the whole wheat flour, about 1 cup at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon. After all the whole wheat flour has been incorporated, stir 100 times (in the same direction) or until the mixture looks smooth and soft. Cover the 'sponge' with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours in a cool place.
Sprinkle the salt over the sponge. Stir in the olive oil, mixing well, also stirring in the same direction. Add the unbleached all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is stiff. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured clean work surface and knead it until its smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled large, clean mixing bowl. Turn the dough to oil its surface and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until it is doubled in size.
The dough can be refrigerated at this point and keep for up to a week. Place the dough in a plastic bag much larger than the dough and seal until you are ready to bake. Bring the dough to room temperature before baking.
To bake, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If using a baking stone, place it in the oven to get hot. Divide the dough in half and keep the unused half in the bowl, tightly covered. Run the working half of dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover them with plastic as you work with one at a time. Flatten the dough with your fingers then roll it out using a rolling pin until it is 1/4 inch thick - approximately 6-7 inches in diameter.
Put the pita dough rounds on the baking sheet, fitting as many as you can without touching. Bake the pitas for about 5 minutes or until they are blow up like balloons and lightly browned. Wrap the baked pitas in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm while baking the remaining dough.
Pitas are best eaten the day they are made. We froze 2/3 of our pitas and found the very tasty when thawed.
(Adapted from Baking with Julia)
We're having a little preview of fall weather this week with lows around 60 degrees and highs near 80 with very little humidity. I can't believe it's the middle of August and it feels like September. Baking in Autumn seems so comforting so don't be surprised if I turn the oven on again soon.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend. If you have kids getting ready for school - I remember. It's a busy and exciting time. We miss the school stuff, but not the homework.
Take care and thank so much for stopping by!