BAKING IN THE BUSH
We thought we had better share some of our camp recipes with you. Here is one, made by our camp cook, Kazana on top of an open fire in a frying pan. Easy as anything and a great recipe to keep up your sleeve, whether you are out camping or having a few friends round for a quick bite to eat...
Pitta Bread a la Kazana Makes 8 rounds
1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling) 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast 2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons salt 1-2 teaspoons olive oil (optional) Equipment Mixing bowl Rolling pin Cast iron skillet or frying pan
1. Form the Pitta Dough: Mix the water and yeast together, and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil (if using). Stir until a shaggy dough is formed. 2. Knead the Dough: Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. It's better to use too little flour than too much. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading. 3. Let the Dough Rise: Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it's coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it's doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours. At this point, you can refrigerate the pitta dough until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pittas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week. 4. Divide the Pittas: Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap wrap until you're ready to cook them. 5. Shape the Pittas: Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as your oll to make sure the dough isn't sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if its starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. (Once you get into a rhythm, you can be cooking one pitta while rolling the next one out.) 7. To Cook Pittas: Warm a cast iron skillet or fryingpan over medium-high heat until a few bead of water sizzle immediately on contact. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and wipe off the excess. Lay a rolled-out pitta on the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side. The pitta should start to puff up during this time; if it doesn't or if only small pockets form, try pressing the surface of the pitta gently with a clean towel. Keep cooked pittas covered with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pittas. 8. Storing the Pittas: Pittas are best when eaten immediately after cooking. Leftover pittas will keep in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are or warmed in a toaster oven. Baked pittas can also be frozen with wax paper between the layers for up to three months.
Additional Notes: • Storing the Dough: Once it has risen, the pitta dough can be kept refrigerated until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pittas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week. • Pittas That Won't Puff: Sometimes you get pittas that won't puff. The problem is usually that the skillet isn't hot enough. Make sure it is thoroughly pre-heated before cooking. Even pittas that don't puff are still delicious and can be used wraps or torn into pieces for dipping in hummus.