*  Exported from  MasterCook II  *

                              Pita Bread II

Recipe By     : Mary Poulos Wilde - The Best of Ethnic Home Cooking
Serving Size  : 24   Preparation Time :2:30
Categories    : Breads                           Ethnic - Middle Eastern

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
   1      Package       Active Dry Yeast
 500      Milliliters   Warm Water (105° F) -- (2 cups)
   1      Tablespoon    Unsalted Shortening
   2      Teaspoons     Sugar
   6      Cups          Unbleached Flour (approx.)
   2      Teaspoons     Salt
                        Olive Oil

1)  Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large, warm mixing bowl.  Add the shortening and sugar and mix with your fingers until everything is dissolved.

2)  Combine flour and salt.  Gradually add to the yeast mixture, blending with a wooden spoon first, and then with your hands, until you have a non-sticky, workable dough.  Add more or less flour, if necessary.

3)  Lightly oil another warm mixing bowl (use a big earthenware bread bowl if you have one) and place the dough in it, turning once to coat with oil.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm (80° F), draft-free spot to double its bulk, about 45 to 50 minutes.

4)  Punch the dough down, then with lightly oiled hands, divide the dough into 24 equal balls.  Shape them into uniform spheres and place on a lightly floured surface.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for about 25 minutes.

5)  On a lightly floured board, gently flatten a ball of dough with your fingers.  Take care not to stretch, wrinkle, or puncture the dough from now on.  Roll the dough gently into 6 to 7 inch rounds, again being very careful not to stretch the dough.  Turn the dough slightly as you work to roll evenly in all directions.

6)  Place on an ungreased cooked sheet, two or three at a time (or as many as will fit easily on your baking sheet) and bake in a preheated 240° C (475° F) oven for about 4 to 5 minutes.  Turn over with a spatula and bake an additional 2 minutes.  The loaves should be puffed and slightly browned on both sides.  Cool on a wire rack.  Proceed with remaining dough.

7)  Store, stacked one upon the other in securely tied plastic bags.  The breads may be reheated before serving.  Each loaf should contain a pocket which can opened (use a small sharp knife at the edge of the loaf) and filled.

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