Tuesday, November 10, 2020

More cooking for on the boat

Pita Bread Bake

Ok, so I enjoy coking & baking, a recent hobby that has turned out to be really useful. There's a FB page for 'Cooking on Boats' that shows I'm not the only one. But, of course, I mostly cook at home with a healthy dose of wishful thinking - I could be baking on the boat!

Normally when we're out on Eximius, I do all of the cooking, just detest being idle. Bread baking on the boat is a big deal for me, and I typically bake more than one loaf so that I can share it with whomever is my boat neighbor.

Easy meals on the boat are always welcome, and Pita Bread is the basis for so many, funny that I've never baked Pita Bread before. Time to bake Pita Bread.

Because I can, first bakes are normally done at home, however, I do my best to consider what it would be like if baked on the boat. So I resist the Stand Mixer and lean towards hand mixing and kneading instead

Here's the recipe for these easy pita breads.

1&1/3rd Cups of Bread flour.
1 & 1/4 Teaspoons of yeast.
1 Teaspoon of Salt
5 oz of warm water
1 oz of EVO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 Tablespoon of sugar (or honey)

Making the Dough:
Mix Flour, Yeast, Salt in a mixing bowl (Stand mixer or regular large mixing bowl)

In a four cup measuring jug or medium sized saucepan, mix the Water, EVO and sugar/honey. I used very warm water (110ºF) to help the honey melt.

Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix for a couple of minutes (Dough hook slow stand mixer or using a spatula) until all of the dry flour is incorporated.

Mix on medium speed for about 8 minutes (total mixing 10 minuts) OR turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 6 minutes using a scraper to pick the dough up between turns.

Now on a slightly floured surface, knead for a less than a minute to form into a round ball. Place dough in a lightly greased rising bowl (I use a bowl with a lid rather than cover with plastic wrap)

Let rise till about doubled in size, about an hour or more.

On a clean lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and deflate getting rid of most of the larger air bubbles. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, put 3 back in the bowl and cover.

**Shape the 1/4 dough into a ball then press down with your hand palm to form a disk. Then pick up the disk (it's probably about 2-3 inches diameter) and squeeze the edges towards the center with thumbs, do this until the dough is ball shaped again.

Now to form the Pita: Preheat the oven and pizza stone/Cast Iron plinth to 500ºF (or as close as you can get your boat oven to that temperature.) 

Have a sifter with flour handy and sprinkle flour onto the ball and surface. Press and roll the dough into about an 8" round, it will quite thin. Place onto a piece of parchment paper and cover with another. They need to rest for about 20 minutes

 Repeat from ** above for each of the quarters of dough.

Baking the Pita Bread: 

On the boat I can only cook one at a time, at home it's the same because my pizza stone is not big enough for 2.

 Using a well floured pizza peel or large scraper, slide a piece of dough onto the stone/plinth. Bake for about 1 minute, they should start to inflate. As soon as they begin to inflate, turn them over and bake for a total of about 3 minutes, they might turn a golden brown if the oven is hot enough, don't leave them in too long, they'll become crusty - guess how I know!

They are done! Put the baked pita onto a cooling surface, let the oven get back up to tempreature, about 2 or 3 minutes and then bake the next dough, same process.

Storing the Pita Bread:

This recipe is for 4 pita breads and Peggy & I typically eat half of one for lunch. I store the remainder in a zip lock baggy. They survive for 3 or 4 days in the fridge.

Stuffing the Pita Bread:

If all went well, I hope it did, then cut a Pita Bread (along it's diameter) and it should easily shape into a pocket, I use a table spoon to open the pocket almost to the outer edge of the Pita Bread.

If I'm preparing a salad pocket, I'll spread some dressing over the insides of the open pocket, if preparing a fruit pocket (unusual I know, but it works) then I'll spread some yogurt over the insides. 

Stuffing the pocket with just about anything that is not too wet. For salad I'll use whatever I have:- Some mixed salad, some carrots, onion, chopped pickles and some cheese and some lunch meat. I'll make a pile of it all and mix it up, then scoop in enough to fill the pockets. If I'm making a fruit pocket, do the same with chopped, thawed frozen fruit or fresh fruit and scoop that into each pocket.

Make ahead:

The wet dressing/yogurt will make the Pita Bread soggy, so I don't fill them for a later meal, but I will prepare the filling with some dressing/yogurt in a zip lock baggy, or, much preferred, in a locking snack box and then fill the pockets with the mixture when it's time to serve

Hope you enjoy them. Let me know of any variations or questons.


See you on the Water. 




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