Let's Eat

Man in the kitchen: Pitta to fill you with pride


As you will remember, last week I demonstrated how to make the perfect hummus. What do you mean you didn’t read it? Well, ok, for those of you whose newsagent was having a family crisis or whose dogs were hungry for newsprint, here’s a quick recap.

The secret to making perfect hummus is to pop the skins off the cooked chickpeas before you blend them with tehina, salt and lemon juice to achieve a perfect, creamy result.

So there you have your hummus in a nice dish, garnished with some olive oil and a little paprika, looking a picture. What you need is some pitta to dip into it. I don’t know about you but I find supermarket pitta a constant disappointment. And while the Israeli-style ones on sale at kosher bakeries are lovely, we don’t all live near one.

So to go with the hummus we are going to make our pitta. It’s easy, there is very little efffort involved and the results are impressive.

You will need 500g of strong white flour — the breadmaking kind. Pour into a bowl with two teaspoons of sugar, a 7g sachet of dried yeast, a teaspoon of salt (though keep this separate from the yeast — they don’t get on at all) and pour over 300 mls of warm water and a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Mix and knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes elastic. Then put in a bowl, cover and go and watch the football, have a shower, or do your tax returns and come back in an hour’s time.

With a bit of luck the dough will have risen. At this point pre-heat the oven to the maximum setting. You then need to remove the dough from the bowl and knead again briefly. Cut off a cricket ball-sized piece of dough and roll it out flat. It can be an oval or round shape, or in my case a slightly wonky trapezium. Then, once the oven is really hot, pop your pitta onto the middle shelf. If you have a pizza stone this would be perfect, otherwise an oven dish will do. After five minutes or so the pizza should have puffed up like a feather pillow.

Turn it over and repeat on the other side. Then remove from the oven and bake another one or two. You should get six to eight pittas from the dough.

Leave to cool slightly then dip into your hummus and make a mental note never to buy the chewy cardboardy supermarket variety ever again.

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