Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Late night pita

This recipe is from The Easy Way to Artisan Breads & Pastries by Avner Laskin.

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
additional flour for assorted tasks

prep time: 20 minutes
resting time: 1 hour
rising time: 30 minutes
baking time: 5 minutes
makes: 10 pitas

1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer with the dough hook attached, mix the water, yeast, sugar, and flour at low speed for 5 minutes. With the machine running, add the salt, switch to medium speed, and continue kneading for 10 minutes.

2. Place the dough in a floured bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 1 hour. (My apartment is never warm enough for bread to rise, so put it in a sunny window or set the bowl your stove top when you are preheating your oven.)

3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and flatten it out with the palm of your hand to remove air pockets (punch down). Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Let rise on a floured surface for 30 minutes.

4. In the meantime, place a pizza stone in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. (I bought my pizza stone at Target and it was cheap. I recommend it! The bottom of the bread is crispy and the top is nice and soft if you use the stone.)

5. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each ball into a 5- to 6-inch circle, 1/8 inch thick. Place the pitas on the pizza stone (you will have to bake in several batches) and bake for 5 minutes, or until puffed with light brown spots on top.

6. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

I made a double batch and froze half of the bread. It should keep for a couple of weeks. Just thaw at room temperature and warm the bread in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes.

Also, this bread definitely needs some homemade hummus!

To do list

Ways to keep busy when you are unemployed:
Go for a walk.
Make lasagna.
Check Craigslist compulsively.
Make granola.
Make pita bread.
Make hummus.
Get tired of being in a hot kitchen and go for another walk.
Make long lists of more things to cook.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Strawberry Nut Bread

I wanted to share the recipe for Strawberry Nut Bread. I don't remember where I found this originally, but I have altered it slightly. This bread is so good because it is so moist and the little bits of strawberries are awesome.

Strawberry Nut Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (one 16 oz package)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate medium sized bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the oil and strawberries. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Mix in the nuts. Grease 2 bread loaf pans and fill half full with batter. I like to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the tops of the loaves. Bake for about an hour or until the bread passes the toothpick test. Cool the bread in the pans on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes. The loaves should come out easily from the pans, then continue cooling on the racks. Eat a slice right away. Then come back in 10 minutes and try it again. Then maybe again after dinner...

I went to the Green City Market this week in Lincoln Park. It was kind of drizzling but I got garlic scapes! Also, I saw this hilarious "green roof" mini-van.