Lavash (Soft) Pita Bread

Recipe Info
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Special Equipment: 1 wok, scoured clean on the outside; an inverted bowl (with gently sloping sides) covered with a cloth over which to rest the bread before it is baked.

By Hand or Mixer 15 minutes: In a mixing or mixer bowl, place 2 cups flour, the yeast, and salt. Mix the tablespoon oil with the hot water and pour into the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon or the mixer flat beater to blend well. Add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a shaggy mass of dough.

Kneading 5-8 minutes: Turn from the bowl onto the work counter and knead with a firm push-turn-fold motion until the dough is soft and elastic, about 8 minutes. If under a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes.

By Processor 5 minutes: Attach the steel blade. The order of ingredients varies from above. Pour hot water and oil into the work bowl and add the yeast and salt. Pulse on/off to mix. Remove the cover and add 2 cups flour. Process 10 seconds. Add the balance of flour, 1/4 cup at a time, processing each time to blend.

Kneading 50 seconds: When the dough forms into a ball and rides on the blade, knead for 50 seconds.

Rising 40 minutes: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place (80~-100~) until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes. (If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising time by about half.)

Shaping 20 minutes: Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide into 6 or 8 pieces. First under your palm and then with a rolling pin, shape each ball of dough into a 10" circle. Place the flattened dough on the back of your hands and carefully stretch the diameter to 15" or 16". (The back of the hands are used rather than the fingers, which can tear the dough.) After shaping the dough, dust each with flour and drape them together over the cloth-covered bowl (inverted) to rest for 10 minutes. Preheat the inverted wok over a medium-high flame while the dough is resting. The wok is hot enough for the dough when a drop of water sizzles and bounces off the metal. Lightly brush oil over the surface. Place the dough circles, one at a time, on the hot wok. Bake until the dough is browned underneath, about 3 or 4 minutes. Don't bake until it is crisp (then it becomes a cracker bread!) Turn the dough over and brown the other side. The bread should be soft and floppy. Reduce baking time or lower the heat if the bread is hard.

Lift the bread off the wok and fold into quarters while still hot. Place in a plastic bag to keep soft. Continue baking the balance of the breads.

Final step: The breads may be served warm. After they have cooled, refrigerate or freeze. This is a marvelous bread to take on a picnic and wrap around meats and other delicacies. It is truly an edible napkin!

Serving Size: 6

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