Pita and Hummus
About 10 years ago I used to eat packaged, pre-made hummus by the gallon. I just couldn’t get enough of it. Then something happened and the thought of store-bought hummus just didn’t appeal to me. People I knew started making their own hummus and I had the really, really good stuff at specialty restaurants. I just couldn’t stomach the gummy, flavorless junk from my local supermarket after having far superior hummus.
After craving hummus for far too long I decided to take matters into my own hand and make my own. It can’t be that difficult can it? Feeling ambitious, I decided I might as well make my own pita as well. For some reason the pita I’ve purchased at the store has been disappointing. Very cardboard-esque.
So, project pita and hummus commenced.
Adapted from Anne Burrell
- 1 ¼ cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups bread flour, plus a little more for dusting
- 1 ½ to 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons table salt
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl
1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar and yeast and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the dough hook, combine the bread flour and 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, cumin, salt and cayenne.
3. Add the yeast mixture and the olive oil and mix on medium speed to combine and knead the dough. It should take 6 to 7 minutes. At about 4 minutes into kneading my dough was super sticky so I gradually added more all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time (it resulted in roughly half a cup more). After 7 minutes your dough should be very firm and not sticky or tacky.
4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
After an hour mine was (waayyyyyy) more than double in size, so just check along the way.
5. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into 7-inch rounds (1/4-inch thick), using an additional sprinkle of bread flour if your dough is sticking (my dough hardly stuck at all). Divide the dough between sheet trays (I have little baby sheet trays so needed to use 3), cover them loosely with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. As you will see, I chose to roll mine into abstract circles. I suck at rolling… errr…. I like the rustic, handmade look.
After researching other recipes I discovered a few different ways of cooking the pita and I wanted to try both to see which was most successful.
Stovetop method: Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle on medium-high heat. Lightly grease the skillet and cook pitas, one at a time, for 15 seconds on one side, flip and cook for one minute, then flip again and cook an additional minute. The pita should lightly brown and puff up and the total cooking time should be less than 3 minutes per pita. This method seemed straight-forward but was disastrous for me. After burning two pitas (even after turning down the heat and cooking for a shorter period on the second pita) I decided this wasn’t for me.
Oven method: Lightly spritz the pitas with water and bake in a preheated, 500 degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes, then turn the pitas over and bake for 2 more minutes. Let cool slightly before eating. I prefer warm pitas and almost immediately started ripping these bad boys apart to dip into my hummus.
This was definitely my preferred method.
From Ina Garten
While I only went to one store in search of tahini, I was somewhat shocked at how pricy it is. I mean, it’s not obscenely expensive but considering tahini is simply ground up sesame seeds and a bit of oil, I thought the $11 price tag for the teeny, tiny bottle was a bit obscene. After googling “homemade tahini” on my iPhone, I decided it would be easy and much cheaper to make my own. I did so by grinding 4 cups of lightly toasted sesame seeds and 1/3 olive oil in my food processor for a few minutes, until it was a smooth, thick paste. It stores in the fridge for a few months.
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, 2 tablespoons liquid reserved (cooking dried chickpeas tastes so much better, but using canned results in a delicious, but less tasty hummus)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately the juice of 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas
- 8 dashes hot sauce (Frank’s is my preferred hot sauce)
Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature with pita and/or an assortment of vegetables. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.