Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pita and roasted red pepper hummus...

Pita and hummus, a Mediterranean food combo that has turned global now. As I'm already tardy on posting this particular post I don't want to discuss about the history and details of pita and hummus. If you are interested please go through this link below, it has a nice discussion both on pita and hummus. http://www.criticalskeptic.com/2012/05/08/post-4-the-history-of-pita-bread-and-hummus/ 

When I started baking bread at home, pita was the first bread I began my journey into the world of bread baking addiction. Thanks to Subrata da, who explained the process of pita making to me and provided endless encouragement to bake the first one. 

One can bake pita using an oven or on stove-top, I have explained both the options. I found the stove-top pitas retain their softness much longer and better than the oven made pitas.

Things needed to make Pita:

  • Bread flour: 2 cups
  • Active dry yeast: 2 tsp
  • Warm water: 1 cup
  • Olive oil: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: 3/4 tsp
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Extra flour to dust

Steps of making Pita:

1. Proof yeast. Add yeast and sugar to the warm water, mix well and cover for 10 min. It will turn frothy and will bubble up. Use a deep bowl to prevent spilling.

2. In a large deep container, add flour, salt and olive oil, mix well with a spatula. 

3. Make a well at the center, add yeast and mix.

5. Turn the dough to a floured surface. Knead dough, dust flour as you knead. But do not use too much of flour. Knead for 10 min.

6. Grease a large deep container, put the dough in the container. Turn dough to grease from all side. Cover and let the dough rise for 1-2 hrs or till it doubles. After the dough rises to double punch it down.

7. For the oven method: Divide the dough into 8-10 equal portions. Keep the dough in a greased container, cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise for 30-40 min. As the dough is rising pre-heat oven to 400F. It is preferable to use a pizza stone to bake pita, but a baking tray is also good enough. Put the baking tray or the pizza stone inside the oven while it is heating up.  Dust working surface with flour, roll each dough into round flat disk of 1/4 inch thickness. Put the rolled dough on the hot baking tray or pizza stone. Bake for 3-4 min, it will puff like a football. If you want brown spots on the pita, broil for 1-2 min.

8. For the stove-top method: Divide the dough into 12-14 equal portions. Keep the dough in a greased container, cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise for 30-40 min. Dust working surface with flour, roll each dough into round flat disk of 1/8 inch thickness. Heat a heavy bottom pan, a cast iron skillet works best. Put the rolled dough on the hot pan, it will start to bubble, turn the bread and wait it puffs up to a round football.

I made roasted red pepper hummus to go with the pita breads. You can make a plain hummus also. the process in same. Adding extra flavor like roasted red peppers, or jalapeno, or sun-dried tomato, chipotle, artichoke makes the hummus more versatile. Flavoring options are endless, try different flavors each time you make them.

Things needed to make Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:

  • Canned chickpea/garbanzo beans: 1 can
  • Tahini: 2 tbsp*
  • Lime juice: 3 tbsp
  • Garlic: 1 clove (chopped)
  • Olive oil: 2 tbsp
  • Red bell pepper: 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper powder to taste
(*Tahini is a paste made from toasted white sesame seeds and olive oil, I have added the recipe for your reference)

Steps of making Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:

1. If you are using canned chickpea, strain the chickpea and reserve half of the liquid.

2. If you are using dry chickpea, soak the chickpea overnight, wash them well, cook till soft (preferable using a pressure cooker). Strain the chickpea and let it cool down and reserve the liquid.

3. Roasting a red pepper. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Wash a large red pepper, wipe it dry with a kitchen towel. Grease the pepper with olive oil. Cook the pepper in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 min, turning once or twice. Broil for 5-7 min, till black spots appear on the pepper.

Take it out of the oven, keep it in a paper bag for 15 min. Cut off the stem, peel the skin, discard seeds and membrane from inside. Chop the roasted pepper into small pieces.

4. For the hummus grind all the ingredients in a food processor, till creamy and smooth. Add the reserved liquid as required while grinding, but not in excess.
Tahini recipe:

(Recipe courtesy about.com)
Sesame seed: 5 cup
Olive oil: 1 and 1/2 cup

Toast sesame seeds for 5-10 min, take care not to brown the seeds. Cool down and make a paste with olive oil. Make thick but pour-able paste. The above mentioned measurement will yield 4 cups of tahini. Store tahini in an air tight container in the refrigerator. It will stay good for 3 months. 
You can cut the pita bread into small pieces and serve along with hummus or other dips. Or you can cut the pita bread into two halves, put filling of your choice inside the pockets and enjoy your pita pockets.

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  1. Oh Chitrangada, pita with hummus looks soooo good!!

  2. i am bookmarking your pita bread...that made to perfection loved it...i had a Mediterranean lunch last weekend too...

    1. Thanks Divya, would love to have a feedback from you.