The best pita bread, because it’s BBQ time!

During my bread demo given to some of my friends, I have made these pita pockets and they were gone before the dips were finished and before I finished the presentation. I was asked to share the recipe so here we go!
Today we’ll talk about keeping bread dough in the fridge for more than 12 hours (in previous recipes,
I’ve used ½ of the dough that was kept in the fridge to make a new bread dough), which comes down to the pre-ferment method and its benefits especially on the final taste and texture of the bread.
As a bonus, I’ll share with you a good recipe for Pita bread or as we call in Morocco (Matloue/Batbout). They’re soft and aromatic due to the way the dough has been handled.

When making bread, I usually follow the pre-ferment method but I’ve never done it for pita/batbout bread.  
The fridge allows a slow fermentation which allows the flour to release some sort of sweet and cream note. You also don’t get hit by the taste of yeast which is a good thing (compare this versus the industry-made breads).
So the benefits of keeping the dough in the fridge:

  • Rich taste you won’t get in a fast proofing condition.
  • Having freshly made pitas everyday: yes! Just shape, wait 20 min or so and cook.
  • Soft and airy texture.

Today I give you the best pita bread I’ve ever made! On the other hand, the pictures look poor because I made these at night..not much of a light there in my kitchen!
I’m submitting this to Susan’s yeastspotting.
 
Ingredients
Makes about 15 medium size pita pockets
Prep: 50 min – Proofing: 12 hours minimun -Cooking: 2 min/pita, roughly

  • 850g + 50 g of strong flour or normal bread flour (labels are different from a country to another)
  • 2 tsp of instant dry yeast (double if using fresh yeast) 
  • 4 tsp of salt
  • 60g of olive oil 
  • About 600ml water depending on the flour’s absorption

Preparation
In a large bowl, combine flour (keep about 4 tablespoons on the side) with salt, then add the yeast. Make a well, pour the olive oil and water and start mixing from the centre with the hand or with a wooden spoon, gathering flour towards the centre to form a dough as you go.  
Transfer to a floured work surface and start kneading and folding for about 5 or 6 minutes until it forms a soft ball. You may add the flour left on the side if you really have to.
Cover the dough with the bowl and let it “rest” for about 20 min which will soften and relax the gluten and it will be easier to work.

Knead the dough for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it becomes soft and smooth and barely sticky to the touch.

Note: If you want the pita to to inflate, the dough should stay hydrated and slithly tacky but not sticky which is why you shouldn’t be tempted to add too much flour while you are kneading the dough. Use a dough scraper as an alternative.

 
Transfer the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and brush the surface of the dough with a little oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let proof for 12 hours in the refrigerator but ideally 24 hours. 

MAKE SURE TO DEFLATE it at least twice during the first three hours simply by pushing it gently with the palm of the hand. This will prevent the gluten network from breaking due to those big bubbles that will be formed. 

The dough can be kept up to 2 days in the fridge before being flattened. So you can use only one portion and keep the rest to make fresh pitas the following days .


Shaping and cooking 
Transfer the dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide into 13 to 15 pieces of the same weight (80-100g). Shape each piece of dough into a ball while keeping others covered with a clean kitchen cloth.

Gently flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand and then with a rolling pin to form a rather oval disc, about 4 to 6 mm thick as a maximum. 
To make sure the dough doesn’t stick (which won’t give you pockets while cooking),  return each pita 2 or 3 times during the rolling process: Also, to shape it properly, you need to give 1/4 turn to the dough while you are flattening it with the pin.

Place each rolled pita on a slightly floured kitchen towel and repeat the process. Keep the pitas covered for 15 min to rest but not “rise”.
Preheat a cast iron skillet or a griddle over medium high heat and grease it lightly with oil. 
Brush any excess of flour on the pita and cook for a few seconds until you see appearing a few bubbles. Immediately flip the pita.  
The pita will inflate like a balloon. Flip again and cook for a few seconds until you start seeing some brown spots. You shouldn’t not exceed 2 minutes per pita.

Pile the pitas in a stack and keep them covered at all times.

Note: I use the same dough to make pizzas. It’s worth trying..



Corn tortilla recipe vs flour tortilla: recipes and thoughts

I have finally made my first corn tortilla batch! I just got hold of the yellow cornmeal for the purpose. I was just at a local supermarket looking for curry powder and I saw it, it was the P.A.N. brand..

I opened all those files with tortilla recipes and went on to Youtube to look for video (nothing better than visual)..

So here is what I understood (correct me of I got it wrong): There are 2 main ways of making tortillas: We use shortening or we don’t, we add a hint of baking powder or we don’t..

I did both versions (even a hybrid version), and for first time tortilla makers, I got to say that shortening and baking powder enhance the dough and make it easier to work with. But that’s my opinion only..

So which one is better? corn tortilla or flour tortilla? I would say by taste, corn tortilla is nicer and works well for corn chips or tacos. The only thing is that it becomes chewy especially if you have wet ingredients in your wrap. But the flour tortilla will be fine for a wrap. It’s actually depending on how you want to use the tortillas.

I don’t have a tortilla press, I just used a rolling pin. I didn’t even need to roll the tortillas between 2 cling-films, I just rubbed my hands and the surface with shortening and it went fine.

 
Ingredients
Makes 10 medium-size tortillas for each recipe
Prep: 40 min – cooking 10 min

Corn tortilla Adapted from here (with video)

  • 2 cups of fine yellow corn flour
  • 1 1/3 cup of warm water
  • A good pinch of salt
  • Shortening to roll

Flour tortilla Adapted from here

  • 2 3/4 cups all Purpose Flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 5 tablespoons shortening (vegetable shortening for me)
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 cup Warm Water

Mixed flour tortilla (the best) Adapted from here

  • 1 1/2 cups of fine yellow corn flour
  • 1 cup of white wheat flour
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of warm water

Preparation

It’s better to mix salt with water first so it dissolves.

Combine the flour (s) with shortening or oil when the recipe calls for it and work with your fingers until it comes to a fine crumble.

Pour 2/3 of the water and  combine. Add water based on your need. You just have to get a sort of dough ball that looks combined, which should take about 1 min.

When the dough is firm enough to handle, transfer it into a flat surface and knead it a bit, I’d say 5 min for a corn tortilla and about 10 min for the other versions (just like bread).

Divide into small pieces to make a sort of golf ball later and cover with a cling film. Set aside for 30- 60 min at room temperature.

Shaping and cooking the tortillas

Heat a griddle/ cast iron skillet/ non stick pan over medium high heat.

You could just flatten the balls with a rolling pin, try to have a round shaped tortilla or just use a round plate and cut the excess. Then cover with a damp kitchen towel or place it straight into the skilled.

I found out that smearing the palm of my hands with shortening and “re-working” the dough balls, reshaping them and then flattening them gave me a malleable texture.

Flatten a ball while covering the others) until very thin (you could see through) and then cook on medium hight heat using a cast iron skillet. You need to transfer the tortilla from the work surface using the palm of your hands and flip it over the skillet. You’ll see bubbles appear and that’s cool!

Each tortilla will need to cook for 3-4 min. I flipped them each 10 seconds. You want to get some brown spots which give a nice taste. I found this stage a bit tricky because there is a fine line between cooking the tortillas properly and drying them out. So be careful to pull it out in the right time and not to overheat the pan.

Cover with a warm towel until ready to serve. Cooked tortillas have to stay covered with a slightly dampened, clean dish towel.

The tortillas will keep in the refrigerator for a few days in a sealed plastic bag, then they’ll begin to dry out (the right time to make homemade “Doritos”).

How to heat tortillas (or bring them to life again)?

In the Microwave – Put a few tortillas on a plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about 30-second until they are warmed through. Repeat in batches if you have a lot.

In the Oven – Wrap a few tortillas in a packet of aluminium foil or damped parchment paper and put it in a pre-heated oven at 200-180 degrees C for 15 min, until heated through. You could also heat the oven to maximum (about 250 degrees in my case), then place them in the oven and knock it off..

On a cooker ring (especially when they’re still fresh): on a dry pan, warm each tortilla for a few seconds on each side over medium heat. But I still prefer the first 2 methods.

If the tortillas look old or somehow dry, brush them with a bit of water before heating them.


No Knead Ciabatta bread

Yesterday, I gave a bread making demo in the presence of 10 nice ladies. We talked about all the things one needs to know if we want to make bread or any yeast/fermented dough for that matter.

The evening turned out really nice and we had plenty of dips besides my bakes. While I was busy with my demo (and the baby, yes, he was there as well, Thanks to the girls who took care of him when I had to start the demo), I didn’t ask about the recipes for those couple of dips which had a hit of curry and orange. It was mind-blowing!
Today’s recipe was previously posted in French. I’m re-posting it in English because the girls loved the taste and the texture (beside the practically no effort required to make it) and asked for the recipe..
I glazed the top with olive oil before baking which is why it looks shiny

This recipe is taken from f Chef John’s website. an amazing blog with videos. 
I’m sending this to Susan’s blog: wild yeast (YeastSpotting).

Ingredients
Makes 1 loaf
Prep: 10 min / Rest: 20 hours / Cooking time: 35 min
  • 3 cups strong/ bread flour 
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or spelt flour)
  • ½ tsp dry yeast (double if using fresh cubes)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups warm water 
Preparation
Sift all ingredients in a bowl. Mix with a spatula. Cover and let stand for 18 hours at room temperature. The dough should have a sticky consistency, so do not panic!
After 18 hours, the dough will look very spongy.
Take a baking sheet covered with parchment (otherwise, grease it with olive oil). Sprinkle generously with fine semolina). Spread the dough by stretching in a way to have a rectangular shape.
Cover and let stand for about 2 hours ( I covered with oiled cling film so it does not stick).
Sprinkle with flour (generously).
Preheat oven to 250 degrees C.

Place the tray with the bread into the oven, spray with water or pour 1/2 cup of water onto the tray underneath, otherwise place any baking pan underneat and pour in the water for that steam effect needed for the bread to puff nicely.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes AT 220 degrees.

Tomato and cajun spices bread buns and ciabatta

After reading this post, you won’t have any valid reason not to make fresh bread!

Soft savoury muffins with sundried tomatoes, olives and thyme


Hello and happy February everyone!
Theoretically, It’s just 1 more month to go before I meet baby..So I’m getting heavier and lazier. But there is something nice that comes with this: I get to feel baby moving inside and doing his things (I keep wondering what that could be). It’s just indescribable.
Last month, I have tested my first recipe in “Petit Larousse des apéritifsdînatoires” ordered via Amazon. It’s a sort of savoury muffin/friand recipe (depending how you want to shape it). Of course I changed a few things but that’s because I didn’t have the meaty ingredient.
It’s a straight forward recipe, tasty with a soft bite. My friends enjoyed it.. I hope you do.
Today I’ll be sharing with you this vegetarian version of Mini cakes with turkey, sundried tomatoes and basil which has become Mini cakes with olives, sundried tomatoes and thyme where olives replaced turkey, thyme replaced basil. So I’ll give you my adaptation as well as the original recipe.
Ingredients

Makes 8 standard muffins or cannelés

Prep: 5 min- Baking: about 20 min.

  • 3 tbsp of sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • A small handful of basil leaves, chopped which I replaced with 2 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 cl of buttermilk (or liquid natural yogurt)
  • 4 tbsp of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 120g of wheat or all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp of baking powder (I used 2 only)
  • 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper (my addition)
  • 1 good pinch of chilli powder (my addition)
  • 2 heaped tbps of grated cheddar (my addition)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 80g of smoked turkey (finely diced) which I replaced with 3 tbps of pitted black olives, chopped

Preparation
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C and have the silicone moulds or cases ready and lined up.
Beat the eggs with a whisk. Add milk, olive oil and continue beating. Add the flour and baking powder and mix with a spatula or beat at a lower speed (I just used the spatula at this stage).
Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.
Fill the cases or silicone moulds at 2/3 and bake for 20-25 min until cooked through and golden from the top.
Serve warm or at room temperature, optionally with a cream cheese spread.
Notes: 
1- You could add seeds on the top before baking.
2- I’ve put 2 mini-cakes in the fridge for the next day, warmed them slightly. It was even better!
3- Cakes in French refer to Loaves or muffin-like texture bakes. Unlike the English/American culture where a cake refers to a soft of gateau layed/frosted with cream. I know some of you might be lost in translation. It took me a long time to get used to it to.