April Challenge – Bread
I am not a big bread maker. When I do make time for it I love the process of proving and kneading but I often find that I just don’t have the time to dedicate to making a decent loaf. As my year doesn’t show any sign of slowing down and so I needed a quick bread recipe to try for this month’s. Flicking through Paul Hollywood’s book “Bread” I found a recipe for Pitta breads. This dough has 5 ingredients and only requires one prove – perfect!
250g strong white bread flour
7g fast-action dried yeast
20g nigella or black onion seeds (I could not find these and so I left them out)
160ml cool water
2tsp olive oil
Makes 4-6 pittas
- Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the nigella seeds, pour in 120ml of the water and add the 2tsp oil. Mix the ingredients together using the fingers of one hand. Add the remaining water a little at a time until you have a smooth, soft dough and you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need all of the water. (TIP – when adding the water add a tiny bit at a time, even the smallest amount of water can make all the difference to the dough).
- Pour a little oil onto a work surface and place the dough onto it. Knead for 5-10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough (TIP – I “cheated” here and used the dough hook setting of my kitchen aid. Kneading by hand is fun but this certainly saved me some time and energy! 5 minutes on a medium speed did the trick).
- When the dough is soft, smooth and stretchy, shape it into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.
- Cover and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size – at least 1 hour. Then heat your oven to 220°C (or higher) and put two baking trays inside to heat up.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back by folding the dough in on itself repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide the dough into 4-6 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball with your finger tips, then roll into an oval 5mm-1cm thick.
- Take the hot trays from the oven, dust with flour and lay the pittas on them. (When putting the trays back in the oven, don’t forget they are hot!). Bake for 5-10 minutes until the breads puff up and just start to take on a hint of colour.
- Wrap the pittas in a cloth to trap the steam and keep them soft, then leave to cool. They are best eaten on the same day or they can be frozen.
I would never have guessed how easy it would be to make pittas from scratch. For some reason I had always thought they would be much more complicated.
Next time you fancy some lovely fresh bread but find yourself a bit pushed for time why not whip up a batch of these lovely pittas. They tasted delicious still warm from the oven!
I have been inspired by Bake Off Crème de la Crème so next month I am going to attempt patisserie!