Saturday, March 21, 2009

Arabic Bread

  • 360g (20 oz – 2 1/2 cups) of strong white flour
  • 150 g (8oz - 1 cup) of cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of active dried yeast
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of olive oil
  • 250 ml (10 fl oz - 1 1/4 cup) of lukewarm water (body temperature is best)
  • Yield 6 to 8 loaves.
  • Measure the flour. Sift flours and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the sugar. It is important to mix the dry ingredients first.
  • Dissolve the yeast with the water, and then stir in the oil and pour into a large bowl.
  • Gradually beat the flour into yeast mixture, and then knead the mixture to make soft dough.
  • Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If you are using a food processor, run the machine for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients first, then gradually add the liquids, Start at a low speed, and move up slowly. Always stand close to the food processor while is running.
  • Place the dough in a large bowl, dusted with extra flour. You can also use olive oil to grease the bowl. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the surface of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm place free of air drafts for 1 1/2 hour to 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. I usually place my dough to rice in the cool oven.
  • Punch down the dough. On a floured surface, make a rope-like shape. Pinch off the dough to form 6 to 8 equal pieces, depending on how thin or thick you like your bread to be.
  • Roll out each ball of dough, with a rolling pin, into a circle of about 10 inches (25cm) and a thickness of 1/4 inch (6mm). Set aside covered for ten minutes.
  • Place dough in a preheated oven with temperature of 220 oC (425 oF – Gas mark 7).
  • Cook the bread for 3 to 5 minutes. Your bread is ready when the hollow pocket has formed and the bread is slightly browned on the edges and on the top.
  • Arabic bread is best eaten hot out of the oven because it tends to dry out quickly. If you want to store the bread for later consumption, allow the bread to cool, flatten, then store in plastic bags. You can refrigerate or freeze the bread.
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