Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not a complete disaster by any means...

But not exactly what I was going for... yet again.

It all started when I realized I had a fair amount of roasted red pepper hummus but no pita with which to scoop it up. The hummus to pita ratio never seems to work out here (not unlike the dog to bun ratio in houses where hot dogs are consumed - not this house any more, sadly, because even though I know hot dogs are the work of Satan I still love them). At any rate, I needed pita and I needed it quickly.

In keeping with my personal challenge to bake my way through the Bread Baker's Apprentice, I didn't go directly to my fave pita recipe (Baking with Julia, the episode with Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, a couple of my favorite food writers). I love this recipe and have used it many, many times with complete success. BUT, I promised I'd stick with Reinhart so off I went. Turns out he doesn't have an actual pita recipe but suggests that using his lavash dough you can approximate pita if you make rounds and bake on a stone instead of a baking sheet.

The dough was nice to work with, shiny and smooth, and only needed to ferment for 90 minutes so it seemed I was in good shape. Once I was ready to bake I divided the dough into four pieces of about three ounces each and rolled them out into rounds (sort of). On to the stone went the first two but there was no puffing going on in my oven that day. I ended up with chewy, crispy flatbreads, which were delicious but definitely not pita.

Caroline suggested that I write an indignant letter to Peter Reinhart complaining about his recipes. I had to remind her that he's one of the most famous and respected bakers in the world and if I wasn't getting the right results the issue was most likely in MY kitchen, not his.