Pita Bread from Middle East
This bread is the foundation meal all over the Middle East.
1 package active dry yeast
31/4 to 33/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shortening
11/2 teaspoons salt
Yield: 12 rounds
In a large mixer bowl, soften yeast in 11/4 cups warm water ( 110° to 115°F or 45 deg C).
Add 2 cups of the flour, shortening, and salt. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping bowl. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.
Stir in as much remaining flour as you can mix in with a spoon. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes).
Cover; let rest in warm place for about 15 minutes.
Divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each between hands (coated with flour) into a very smooth ball.
Cover with a damp cloth; let rest 10 minutes.
Using fingers, gently flatten balls. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. (Keep dough pieces covered till ready to use.)
On well-floured surface lightly roll one piece of dough at a time into a circle 7 inches in diameter, turning dough over once. Do not stretch, puncture, or crease dough. (Work with enough flour so dough does not stick.)
Place on a baking sheet. Bake rounds, 2 at time, in a 450° F (230 deg C) oven for about 3 minutes or till dough is puffed and softly set.
Turn over with a spatula. Bake for about 2 minutes more or till dough is light brown.
Repeat with remaining dough, baking one batch before rolling and baking the next batch.
To serve, slice bread crosswise; fill pocket with desired filling.
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