Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread & Hummus

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread

homemade-whole-wheat-pita-breadA friend recently gave me a recipe for Whole Wheat Pita Bread which prompted me to think of my favorite food memory of my trip to Israel in 1994. That wonderful memory was of eating hot pita bread right out of the oven at lunch in a restaurant by the Sea of Galilee. The hot pita bread was sent down a chute from the kitchen to a large container in the dining area and several of us would sneak over to the bin holding the hot pitas and grab a few when the waiter wasn’t looking! That hot pita bread was so delicious! 

Sea of Galilee near Tiberias, IsraelGalilee, Boat, Israel, Tiberius, Water, Sea, Lake

Pita bread is a slightly leavened flatbread, sometimes called “pocket bread”, that originated in the area of Mesopotamia around 2500 B.C. It is used in many Mediterranean, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisines. Pita bread is baked at high temperatures, 450°- 500°F., causing the flat rounds to noticeably puff up. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened to form a pocket. The pocket is useful for times when pita is used as a sandwich bread as the sandwich filling can be spooned into the pocket.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread may also be used to scoop up dips such as Hummus or to wrap kebabs, gyros or falafel. It can also be cut and baked into crispy pita chips. Greek Classic Chicken Souvlaki and Chicken Pita Pockets with Lentils & Tahini Sauce are two recent posts that you may want to see that feature pita bread.

Methodology

Whole Wheat Pita Bread is not difficult to make but it does require enough time to allow for two risings of the dough. First the ingredients are all added to a mixer bowl and combined to make a soft dough. Then the dough needs to be kneaded (pun intended) for 6-8 minutes. If you prefer to make it by hand, combine all the ingredients together and knead by hand until the dough is no longer sticky but soft.

mixing-dough-for-whole-wheat-pita-breadRemove the dough from the mixer and place in a lightly oiled bowl, flipping the dough over so the surface is completely coated with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise for about 1 hour. (I have a “proof” setting on my oven so I placed the dough in the oven to rise.)

pita-dough-covered-for-first-rising

pita-bread-dough-after-first-rise

After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and on a lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 6″ – 7″ circle. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let the circles of dough sit on the countertop for the second rise, about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy.

dough-shaped-into-rounds-for-second-rise

After the rounds have risen, place them on a wire rack and bake in the middle rack of a 500°F. oven. Bake 5-6 minutes or until puffy and brown. Remove the rack and wrap the pita bread in a damp towel and keep it covered. Let cool completely, then store in a zippered plastic storage bag in the refrigerator or freezer.

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The Recipe for Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Yields 8
A delicious slightly leavened flat bread made with whole wheat flour.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons sugar
  5. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Instructions
  1. In a mixer bowl, combine warm water, oil, salt and sugar. Add 1 cup of flour along with yeast and stir to mix. Add remaining flour and knead for 6-8 minutes.
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn over to oil entire surface of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down and cut into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and on a lightly floured surface roll each ball into a 6" or 7" circle.
  4. As you roll each piece of dough into circles, cover them loosely with a kitchen towel. Repeat making circles and cover all with the towel and let them sit on the countertop for the second rise, about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy.
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. On a cooling rack or a wire rack, place 2 circles side-by-side and bake in the middle of the oven for 5-6 minutes until puffy and brown.
  6. Remove the rack and wrap the pita bread immediately in a damp towel and keep it covered.
  7. Repeat the baking and wrapping of the pita bread. Let it cool completely before serving.
  8. Pita bread can be stored in zippered bag in fridge or freezer.
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Hummus

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini (sesame seed paste), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It’s often served with pita bread or toasted pita chips but can also be used as a dip with raw vegetables. Some recipes for Hummus contain tahini, which is sesame seed paste and others contain toasted sesame seeds.

Hummus
A dip made from chick peas, tahini (sesame seed paste), garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Often Hummus is served with pita bread or toasted pita chips.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 15.5-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 2/3 cup tahini
  4. 1/2 cup lemon juice
  5. 2 garlic cloves
  6. 2 teaspoons cumin
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  8. 1/2 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add chick peas and water to bowl of a food processor and puree.
  2. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt and process until smooth.
  3. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil and process.
  4. Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil on top and garnished with flat leaf parsley.
Notes
  1. You may wish to reserve a few chick peas to use as a garnish with the parsley on top of the finished hummus.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Concluding Thoughts

Isn’t it interesting how food creates memories? Just as an old song can transport you to a different time and place, food memories can also take you back to Grandma’s house or a favorite restaurant or a trip to a foreign country.

How about cooking up some memories soon with your loved ones?

Remember to savor the flavor!

Janet

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For a list of link parties in which I participate weekly, click on “Link Parties” on the header menu.

Photo Credit of Sea of Galilee at Tiberias – Pixabay

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

chocolate-zucchini-bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread is a quick bread chock full of grated zucchini, cocoa, mini chocolate chips and sour cream. As a vegetable, zucchini is probably most often served in savory dishes but Chocolate Zucchini Bread fits into the “sweet” category, in fact it’s almost cakelike! What a way to eat your vegetables!

Versatile Zucchini

Zucchini is a summer squash that can grow very large in size. In fact, the longest zucchini (thus far) was grown in Canada in August 2014 and measured a full 8 feet 3 inches long! WOW! We’ve had some large zucchini in our backyard garden but nothing approaching 8 feet long!

Zucchini is called zucchini is the United States, Australia and Germany. In France, Great Britain, Ireland and New Zealand zucchini is called courgette. Zucchini had its origin in the Americans but many varieties of squash typically called zucchini were developed in Italy, after being introduced from the Americas.

Zucchini is easy to cultivate in temperate climates and has a reputation among home gardeners for overwhelming production. I can personally attest to that as zucchini seems to produce such abundance that you have to give some away to stay ahead of it! Fortunately squash and zucchini freeze well for future use. (See my post on How to Freeze Squash by clicking here.)

Many cultures like, use and prepare zucchini in different ways. Pancakes, quick breads, cookies, soups and stews may contain zucchini. Zucchini can be stuffed and baked. Zucchini may be battered and fried. Some cultures even eat the flowers from squash and zucchini by dipping them first in a light batter and then frying them.

Recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Yields 2
A quick bread made with cocoa, grated zucchini and mini chocolate chips! Great with a smear of cream cheese or just plain!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  6. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  7. 1 cup granulated sugar
  8. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  9. 3 eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  11. 1/2 cup sour cream
  12. 3 cups grated zucchini
  13. 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Topping
  1. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  2. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two loaf pans (8" or 9") with cooking spray or butter and flour each pan and set aside.
  2. Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Measure flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer bowl, combine oil, sugars, and eggs and mix until slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined.
  6. Add the grated zucchini and mix until combined.
  7. Toss the mini chocolate chips into the flour mixture, then add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and mix until just combined.
  8. Divide the batter between two pans, and sprinkle topping over each.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Cool pans on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pans.
Notes
  1. Chocolate Zucchini Bread is delicious warm or cold. Try it with a little cream cheese!
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Silver Foodie Recipes Featuring Zucchini

There seems to be an infinite number of ways to prepare zucchini which is great since they produce so prolifically! I even have a separate folder in my file cabinet for zucchini because I have so many zucchini recipes that I’ve pulled out of magazines or printed off the computer. Last summer I posted several zucchini or squash recipes that you might like to see – they’re listed below. (There seems to be a problem linking these recipes so if the link doesn’t work please go to Recipes and look up the recipe you’d like to see.)

Zucchini Pilaf Casserole

Zucchini Cookies

Zucchini Tomato Parmesan

Tomato Squash Feta Gratin

5-A-Day Squash Casserole

Three Sisters Vegetable Soup

Potato Zucchini Soup with Crispy Chickpeas

Chunky Vegetable Chili

Tasty Tip: Make quick work of shredding zucchini by doing it in a food processor using the metal blade!

grated-zucchini-for-chocolate-zucchini-bread

Prepare some summer squash or zucchini soon to delight your family and friends!

What is your favorite zucchini recipe?

Remember to Savor the Flavor of summer’s fresh produce!

Janet

*If you’d like to receive new Silver Foodie posts automatically, enter your email address in the space under “Silver Foodie Updates” on the right sidebar, then click “Sign up”. Thank you!

For a list of Link Parties in which I participate weekly, click on “Link Parties” on the main header bar or scroll down through the right sidebar widgets.

 

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