Thursday, August 25, 2011
I wasn't sure this would work until I pulled the puffy loaves from the oven, and have the nasty steam burn as evidence that they do indeed work. Damn it, I should know better...but obviously I'm a slow study.
These were really substantial loaves, and I can't wait to see how they toast. Mr. ETB has already laid claim to a few for sharing at work tomorrow, which I take as a compliment.
You Will Need:
1 cup fed, white sourdough starter
2 cups water, room temperature
3 cups strong (bread) flour
All of sponge
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
4-5 (or more) cups strong flour
Mix sponge, and cover with clingfilm. Let stand overnight.
Mix everything else, adding the flour slowly. The dough should be soft, but not overly sticky. It does firm up over time, so be patient and avoid using too much flour.
Let rise until doubled in bulk, folding at 1 hour intervals at least three times.
Divide dough into 8-10 balls. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Shape dough as though you were making rolls, pulling and stretching the dough, pinching underneath to make it smooth. Cover and let rest another 30 minutes.
Scatter baking sheets with cornmeal. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Cornmeal at this temperature will smoke a bit, so you might as well open a window now.
Roll out pitas and place on baking sheets. Cover with a towel and let rest 30-45 minutes or until light.
Place oven racks in centre and lowest positions. Place pitas in oven on bottom rack for 5 minutes. Remove to centre rack, and place a new tray in bottom. Bake 5 minutes longer. Continue rotating until all are baked. Cool on racks covered with a tea towel to prevent a hard crust from forming. Do not press the loaves in any way or you will steam your hand. Really, take my word for it. The loaves should deflate as they cool.