Home made pita and hummus
Home made pita is so much fun – the puffing, the stuffing them full of tasty goodies, the endless insidey-possibilities…
It’s also one of the easiest breads to make, because it doesn’t require proofing and takes less than ten minutes in the oven. Perfect if you want fresh bread in the morning for lunch that won’t take too long to cool either.
For me it was also a good time to try making hummus at home – so easy, and the result is incredibly rewarding. Considering how little effort home made hummus is (although it does require a bit of planning if you want it at a specific time, unless you use canned chickpeas), I think I’ll be making it many more times. It’s also cheaper if you buy dried chickpeas and avoid buying tahini (ground sesame paste) at a supermarket (I know Mefco in Christchurch sells tahini, and considering the stuff doesn’t go off for ages if you keep it in the fridge, you don’t need to think twice). It’s a lot creamier and richer as well, but I think that’s to do with how much more tahini you put in (bought stuff uses more water).
After shmearing with plenty of home made hummus, I stuffed the pita pockets with lemon-juiced cucumber, radishes and grated carrot. They’re also amaaaaazing with hummus and slices of tomato for a thin snack-type pocket. This is of course keeping in mind my ranty specifications about tomatoes (in season, deep red, and fragrant).
Pita bread from Artisan Bread in 5
I used the olive oil dough even though the book said to use the master recipe…naughty, but I liked the result, so I’m sticking with it. For about five medium large pitas:
- 1 1/2 warm water (warm enough for you to leave your finger in for ages without feeling uncomfortable)
- 3/4 Tbs active yeast
- 1/2 Tbs coarse sea salt
- 1/2 Tbs sugar
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 3 1/4 c white flour (I subbed in 1/4c wholewheat flour)
- also have some parchment/baking paper ready – I use the inside layer of flour bags!
Put everything but the flour in a large bowl. Mix in flour until no dry floury bits are left. Let rise covered (not airtight) until the top is flattened, 2-5 hours. You can also rise it overnight.
Preheat oven to 260C (500F), or 250C (480F) if your oven doesn’t go that high. Place a baking/pizza stone or large cast iron pan in the centre rack. Let your oven preheat for at least 20 minutes.
Once oven is close to being hot, dust your risen dough liberally with flour. Pull off a small orange sized piece of dough (although you can make them smaller for snack size, but this is a versatile size as you can cut them down for wee pockets or use them whole for a meal-sized souvlaki). Shape into a ball, then flatten and roll out (dusting with flour as you go to prevent sticking) until under 5mm thick, or 1/8″. If they’re not thin enough they won’t puff up enough – you have been warned! Place on a rimless baking tray or pizza peel and shimmy onto your preheated baking stone/cast iron pan (shake the tray forwards to shimmy on). I put as many on the stone as I can fit! Just keep in mind to keep the oven door open for as little time as possible – the blast of extreme heat helps them puff. Bake until puffed and golden, about 5-7minutes. Remove gently with tongs, and cool between sheets of parchment on a rack (or use clean tea towels). This keeps them soft. You can also place them on top of eachother when cooling, just make sure there’s parchment or tea towel between them.
Home made hummus
- about 1 c dried chickpeas, or 2 cans cooked
- half the amount of cooked chickpeas worth of tahini
- salt, olive oil and lemon juice to taste. I also added a splash of kalamata olive brine for extra flavour, but you can use water to get it to the thickness you desire.
- about 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, freshly and roughly ground in a mortar and pestle
- optional: clove of garlic, finely chopped and pounded in a mortar and pestle (I used some garlic powder instead because I was out of garlic)
To cook chickpeas from dry: Soak overnight with twice as much water. Drain and rinse under water, then add to a saucepan, and top with twice as much water. Bring to a rolling boil uncovered, them reduce heat to low. Once simmering gently, cover and let cook 3 hours until soft. There is no need to mix. DO NOT add salt whilst cooking. Once cooked, drain and pour over cold water (enough to just cover) and salt. Cool. If using canned chickpeas, skip to the next step.
Drain and rinse chickpeas, and add to a mini food processor along with all the other ingredients. The tahini ends ups making things quite thick so you will need to drizzle in water to get the blades moving more easily. Taste and adjust seasonings as required. Drizzle with more olive oil and refrigerate until needed.