Monday, January 20, 2014

B is for Bread: Pita with a Prayer

I’ve written before about how I enjoy baking bread because it gives me a chance to infuse the dough with intent.    Below is a revised pita recipe and the blessing that I say for each ingredient.

Flour to ground us firmly in Mother Earth and remember our roots.
Yeast to help us rise above our challenges.
Water to wash us clean of negativity.
Oil to smooth out life’s wrinkles.
Sugar to sweeten, and salt to season.

1.5 cups A-P flour
1.5 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 pk.  Yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
½ cup plus  ½ - ¾ cups warm water
3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the sugar into ½ cup of warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over and allow it to bloom for 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.  Mix to combine.

Combine the rest of the water with the olive oil.

When the yeast is frothy, pour it into the flour mixture. Add the other water and stir to form a sticky dough.

Dust your surface with flour and turn out the dough.  Sprinkle extra flour on top.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.

Grease the bowl with a little extra olive oil, return the dough, and turn to coat.   Cover with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise for at least 90 minutes, until doubled in size.

Tip:  Heat your oven to 200 F.   Turn it off when it comes to temperature.   Place your bowl of dough and a pan of boiling water in the oven to create a warm, humid environment for the dough to rise.

Remove the dough when doubled in size.  Heat the oven to  490 F.     Divide the dough into golf-ball sized pieces.  Roll the pieces to about ¼” thickness.   

Place the pitas on a lined pan and place in the oven for 8 minutes, checking after about 6 minutes.
This recipe  yields 10-12 soft, puffy pillowy pitas.  

**As I knead the dough, I alternately  repeat the ingredients blessing and a couple of chants.
I like:
Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Vine and grain, vine and grain
All that falls shall rise again

I like that one because of its mention of grain. 

She changes everything she touches,
And everything she touches changes

I like that one because of the changes that occur in the dough, from a sticky mass to a smooth ball that doubles in size, to a beautiful baked result.

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