It wasn’t probably until my teen years when my mother started buying bread from a bakery. Flat Arabic bread is known to be the main everyday bread for Palestinians. So my mother, like all other mothers in Palestine used to make bread at home. Bakeries making pita bread at the time were not into existence.
I loved those winter days when we’re off from school and my mom would make the dough then she’d make us mana’ish bi za’atar (thyme) for brunch (mana’ish are dough covered with Thyme and olive oil), or with eggs, baked fresh at home with a hot cup of tea. So cozy warm and yum!
Lately, I had some friends asking if I know how to make pita bread. Well, in a way I know how it’s made but I never made it! Growing up I watched my mother kneading the dough for bread at least twice a week, and as the youngest in the family, my mother would rely on me helping with baking the bread. We had this special electrical baking pot for baking pita bread (see below, I asked my sister back home in Ramallah to take a couple of pictures for the electrical pot).
As for making bread from scratch I never tried to make any myself, though I know that the taste of home bread baking is like no other. And when I first moved to the US and I was living close to my aunt who makes her own bread at home, so every time I visit her she’d give me some and oh the taste is just so good.
So when I checked with my mother for the recipe, it was hard to get the exact measurements out of my mother, because she never measures anything while cooking, and yet always things turn out so good, so she couldn’t give me any exact measurements. I turned to my aunt and between both of their recipes and a bit of experimenting I came out with a pretty good outcome.
Honestly, in the beginning, It was a bit intimidating. However, after doing it twice I felt confident, and now I can say it wasn’t hard at all.
So here is how to make pita bread. Mix 2 tablespoons of yeast with half a cup of warm water, stir well until yeast is fully dissolved then add 1 teaspoon of sugar mix and set aside for 2 minutes. In a large bowl pour in the flour, salt then pours over it the mixed yeast and another half a cup of warm water. Knead together until you get a smooth dough. With your hand rub some olive oil all over the dough, then cover the bowl with wrapping paper and a warm blanket and leave for an hour until it has risen.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Once risen, cut the dough into 6 to 7 equal ball shapes and place them on a sheet or baking tray, cover and let them sit for another 10 minutes. Then take each ball and flatten with a rolling pin, and lay on a baking sheet, keep dough after flattened for another 10 minutes. Then place the baking sheet in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the pitas have puffed up.
Once out of the oven let bread completely cool off. Bread can be stored in a zip bag in the freezer to maintain freshness.Print
Arabic Bread – خبز كماج
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Mix yeast with half a cup of warm water until yeast fully dissolved, then add sugar and set aside for 2 minutes.
- Place flour in a large bowl, add salt and pour in mixed yeast and the second half of water.
- Knead together until you have a smooth dough. With your hand rub all over the dough with some olive oil. Cover the dough with wrapping paper and a blanket and leave for an hour until it has risen.
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Once risen, cut the dough into 6 to 7 equal ball shapes and place them on a sheet or baking tray, cover and let them sit for another 10 minutes.
- Take each ball and flatten with a rolling pin, and lay on a baking tray, keep the dough after flattened for another 10 minutes. Then place the baking tray in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the pitas have puffed up.
- Once out of the oven let bread completely cool off. Bread can be stored in a zip bag in the freezer to maintain freshness.
Wow! This is a lot of work, but so delicious!
Thank you Elana!