Thursday, April 5, 2007

Khibbiz Arabi (Pita or Arabic Bread)

Khibbiz Arabi (Pita or Arabic Bread) is used to scoop sauces or dips such as hummus and to wrap kebabs, gyros or falafel in the manner of sandwiches. Most pita breads are baked at high temperatures (700°F or 370°C), causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened into pockets, creating a space for use in various dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water (40-45 c)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
Preparation:

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
  2. In a deep bowl, combine the flour, and salt, making a well in the center.
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture, the oil, and 3/4 cup water.
  4. Using your hand, gently blend the ingredients in the liquid.
  5. Continue mixing and kneading in the bowl for about 10 minutes until a smooth dough results. (Add a little more flour or water if necessary).
  6. Return the bread to the bowl and cover with a clean dishtowel.
  7. Leave to rise in a warm spot until boubled in bulk (2-3 hours).
  8. Place the dough on a lightly floured board, and knead with floured hands for 5 minutes.
  9. Tear off pieces the size of oranges or grapefruits and roll between cupped hands to form smooth balls.
  10. Set aside on a floured cloth. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 475 F . Sprinkle baking sheets with cornmeal.
  12. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough onto a circle about 0.75 cm thick.
  13. Arrange the circles on the baking sheets, cover with a towel and let rise again for 30 minutes.
  14. Place sheets in the bottom of the oven, directly on its floor, and let them bake for 5 minutes, until the loaves puff up and are lightly browned, or place under the broiler until browned.

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