Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Need to Knead

“I love to knead bread. It makes me calm and peaceful, just the way milking a cow does: I feel that I’m accomplishing something worth doing and here’s no sense rushing about it.” – Carla Emery

As a proud owner and regular user of a thrifted bread machine, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with homemade french bread and pizza dough, but doughnuts, challah, English muffins, bagels!? Wow. Emery’s comprehensive chapter ensures that intrepid bakers will have no shortage of new breads to sample and that even a novice’s first foray into the wondrous world of Yeast Breads will be less daunting.

Remember, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as the aroma of fresh bread wafting through the house, so get out your rolling pin. Your spirits and your dough will be rising in no time!

Here’s an enticing recipe I can’t wait to try:

Pita (Pocket) Bread

Combine 1 ½ c. warm water, 1 T. dry yeast, ½ t. salt, and 1 ½ c. whole wheat flour. Mix well. (Tradition calls for you to stir this 100 times!) Let rest in a warm place for a quarter hour. Knead in enough flour to get a fairly stiff dough (about 2 more cups). Knead about 10 minutes. Let rise another hour. Now cut your pita dough into 10 pieces. Press each piece into the shape of a ball. Make it smooth on the outside. Roll each ball out with a rolling pin and board until it is about 5 inches wide. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a cookie sheet. Lay the pitas on the cornmeal. Let rest for another half hour to rise again. Preheat oven to 450°F. Bake pitas 6 minutes. The high temp causes the bread to puff up and develop a hollow middle. Serve fresh out of the oven, still warm. Cut the pita in half and stuff with sandwich goodies.

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