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Pitta Bread

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500g/1lb/4 cups strong white bread flour, or half white and half wholemeal (whole-wheat)
7g packet easy-blend (rapid-rise) dried yeast
15ml/1 tbsp salt
15ml/1 tbsp olive oil
250ml/8fl oz/1 cup water


Makes: 12


1. Combine the flour, yeast and salt. In a large bowl, mix together the oil and water, then stir in half of the flour mixture, stirring in the same direction, until the dough is stiff. Knead in the remaining flour.

2. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a clean dishtowel and leave in a warm place for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until smooth. Lightly oil the bowl, place the dough in it, cover again and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

4. Divide the dough into 12 equal-size pieces. With lightly floured hands, flatten each piece, then roll out into a round measuring about 20cm/8in and about 5mm-1cm/¼-½in thick. Keep the rolled breads covered with a clean dishtowel while you make the remaining pittas so that they do not begin to dry out on the surface.

5. Heat a large, heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. When smoking hot, gently lay one piece of flattened dough in the pan and cook for 15-20 seconds. Carefully turn it over and cook the second side for about 1 minute.

6. When large bubbles start to form on the bread, turn it over again. It should puff up. Using a clean dishtowel, gently press on the bread where the bubbles have formed. Cook for 3 minutes, then remove the pitta from the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough until all the pittas have been cooked.

7. Wrap the pitta breads in a clean dishtowel, stacking them as each one is cooked. Serve the pittas hot while they are soft and moist.

VARIATION:- To cook the breads in the oven, preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Fill an unglazed or partially glazed dish with hot water and place in the bottom of the oven. Alternatively, arrange a handful of unglazed tiles in the bottom of the oven. Use either a non-stick baking sheet or a lightly oiled ordinary baking sheet and heat in the oven for a few minutes. Place two or three pieces of flattened dough on to the baking sheet and place in the hottest part of the oven. Bake for 2-3 minutes. They should puff up. Repeat with the remaining dough until all the pittas have been cooked.

Energy 150Kcal/638kj; Protein 3.9g; Carbohydrate 32.4g of which sugars 0.6g; Fat 1.5g of which saturates 0.2g; Cholesterol 0mg; Calcium 59mg; Fibre 1.3g; Sodium 493mg

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