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Syrian/Arab/Pita Bread, Khoubz Araby
Recipe by: Chef John V., A Good Cooking Recipe!
Serving size: 8 pieces of bread
Preparation time: about 2 hours 30 minutes
2½ cups water (110° F)
2 Tbsp yeast
1 tsp. sugar
8 cups flour
¼ cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour, for dusting the baking sheets
In a mixing bowl of a bread mixer or food processor combine the warm water, sugar and yeast; mix well and let sit for 5 minutes. (If preparing by hand form the flour into a well on a floured surface, mix in the remaining ingredients and slowly add the water mixture until incorporated, kneed for 12 minutes.) Otherwise if using the mixing machine method, then add the remaining ingredients and mix on low for eight minutes. Cover with plastic wrap brushed with a little olive oil and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal size balls, about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Cover with the oiled plastic wrap again and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500° F. If you have several baking sheets, sprinkle them with flour. Roll each ball of dough into 7-8 inch circles and place 2 or 3 on the sheets 3 inches apart. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Place a sheet directly on the oven bottom for 2-3 minutes then quickly transfer it to a shelf 4 inches from the bottom and continue to bake for 6-7minutes.
They should puff and be golden brown. Let cool and then brush off any excess flour; cover them with aluminum foil while the others are baking. You can start a second batch when the first batch has 3 minutes left to cook. Your oven bottom might develop hot spots, so watch to see if the first batch’s bottoms are burned, cook 1 minute less on the oven bottom and one more on the 4 inch shelf if that is the