Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
On Friday I looked into the fridge and saw hummus. I could almost taste the hummus flavor on my tongue as it combined with the pita in pure deliciousness. Unfortunately, we had no pitas, and a friend’s comment about how lousy grocery-store pitas are made me think: Hmmm. I bet pitas aren’t that difficult to make from scratch, and homemade food almost always tastes better than grocery store food.
With that in mind, I Googled “pita recipe” and went with the first recipe on the list, which came from The Fresh Loaf. I followed the recipe carefully, although I forgot to use warm water on the yeast, which I think slowed the expansion process a bit. That recipe included enough detail that, although I had never used yeast before, after about two hours of waiting and 5 minutes of baking, I obtained this result:
As you probably noticed, they came out looking like poofy UFOs. It appears that the pitas that sat out longer after I rolled them out puffed up more. I think this was a result of the yeast being shocked at sudden exposure to extremely high temperatures. After we took them out of the oven, they eventually vented and flattened down to the quintessential pita shape you imagine, as you can see from the partly-eaten pita in the upper left-hand corner.
Buoyed by my success with the pitas, on Saturday morning I undertook to create English Muffins from scratch (crumpets, my first thought, looked like slightly more work than I wanted to commit to). I followed another recipe from The Fresh Loaf. It took us quite a while to find the right size circle to cut the dough out in, until we realized that virtually any relatively large-diameter tin can would do the trick. I think I used a can that had previously contained a large volume of stewed tomatoes. Little did I know that you cook English Muffins on a griddle, the same way you cook pancakes.
I took no pictures of the muffins finished but uneaten, and remarkably enough, they seem to have a tendency to evaporate much faster than normal store-bought ones.
Turns out this batter was a little too thick for the big bubbles endemic to English muffins, so next time I may try a different recipe, or maybe just tackle crumpets. In any case, everybody agreed that toasted and topped with butter and jam the homemade English muffins tasted pretty heavenly.
These experiences make me want to get into bread making more, if I have the time. Both the pitas (which lasted less than 16 hours total; I found that they were wonderful warmed up with butter and honey inside for breakfast… mmmm) and the English muffins received positive reviews from my in-home taste-testers; I think the outcome was well worth the time investment. I derived great satisfaction from creating these breads totally from scratch, maybe because I have always thought of recipes involving yeast as too difficult for me. Now I know better! My ultimate goal is to try making actual bread some time, perhaps after I do crumpets and naan bread.
Excuse me while I go wipe the drool off my keyboard.