I find myself well into 2017 with planned new fate that have endless possibilities. The holidays came and went; and I find myself on a three month (at least) hiatus from work. You see the restaurant I work for is undergoing major reconstruction and remodeling. A much needed expanded kitchen, new floor plan for the dinning area, and an improved bar. You see the restaurant has been in business for over thirty years. With the volume of business we do on a daily bases was getting complicated, so this change is welcomed.
I was well prepared for this to take place as it has been planned and discussed about for well over a year. I have had time to prepare and plan on what I should be doing with myselfduring this time. I scrimped and saved for a long time. Travel and family was on my mind and in my vagabond soul. Funny though, as much as I love to travel I have noticed that I missed work. It has taken me a while to kick back, relax, unwind, and not hustle on to the next task at hand. I am so use to get up and go; that I am finding this lay back break - unorthodox. Like anything else time will ease me into it.
So a week ago a traveled to Utah to visit with cousins and a great aunt I have not visited with in way too long. When I was very young we all lived in New Jersey and would gather together for big family functions several times a year. Being we are not all in New Jersey now, It takes much planning and effort to get together. With this time off on my side I had to seize the opportunity. My sister (in New Jersey) met me there and we had a long weekend of family fun. My cousin Judy (whom we were staying with) is a fantastic cook, needles to say I ate very well. We shared many stories and had loads of laughter. It was time very well spent. I returned home more relaxed and with lots to tell my husband about.
Back home I was ready to make a nice dinner and bake something for Brian and I. My cousin sent me back with a Za’atar mix she makes herself that has more sumac than the average spice mix. She says she prefers it that way (and yes, it is lovely). Having that spice mix on my counter I thought some pitas and hummus were obviously appropriate. So I mixed up some pita dough, and let it relax and rise. I prepared some hummus (sprinkled it with the za’atar), roasted some veggies, and then divided and shaped the pittas. It was then that I realized the pita dough was much like myself at the moment. It was tight and bound up when it was worked into a dough; but as it sat & rested it relaxed and was ready to be shaped, and transformed. The pitas baked, the dinner was delicious, and I was ready for more adventures with my time off. Relaxed...what a semi new concept..
Pita (about 7 - 8 servings)
12 ounces of bread flour
4 ounces of AP flour (plus more for dusting)
1 tbsp dry years
10 ounces of very warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
Place the yeast in the bottom of a large clean bowl. Pour the majority of the warm water over it (reserving a bit of the water) and let the yeast start to bloom. Over the water mixture place both flours, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Mix it all together until the flour is all hydrated and ball of dough is formed. (Use a bit of the reserved water at a time if you feel the dough is too dry and crumbly.) It will be sticky, and that is okay. Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
Place the bowl in a warm, draft free space for 1 - 2 hours You are looking for the dough to rise and almost double in size. Once the dough has risen preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place a pizza stone, or large sheet pan inside when in the bottom of the oven. Remove the wire racks so they are not in your way.
On a clean surface, dusted with flour remove your dough from the bowl and divide into 4 once portions. Round each dough into a ball and let it relax under a clean tea towel.
Working with one dough portion at a time roll it out using a rolling pin and sprinkling it with enough flour as needed so it does not stick. you are looking to roll the dough out into a flat round shape about 7-8 inches in diameter. Set it aside once done and repeat with the remainder of the dough.
Working with two to three doughs at a time place the dough on your pizza stone, or your inverted sheet pan and let it bake for about 4 minutes. Quickly flip the partially baked dough for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes longer. You are looking for the pitas to be puffed up and slightly golden on each side. Remove from the oven and wrap in a clean tea towel to rest. Repeat with the remaining dough until done.
Serve immediately and enjoy. Once cool, the pitas can be wrapped in plastic wrap and held for about 4 days.