Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bonus: Whole Wheat Freezer Bread/ Pita Dough

When we moved to Amerikan Samoa we found it difficult to find whole wheat bread. Wheat bread is a staple in our diets - I can't start the day without my toast, well, yes I can....but is it worth it?
We tried going without but found that though man can not live by bread alone, a life isn't a life without it. I was able to find a place that had wheat flour and I started making our own. Word soon leaked out and my neighbor suggested that I make it for the upcoming farmers market. I did and it was a hit. I sold out in less then an hour. But that was just the beginning. People in our village started requesting it. Since I made it once a week anyway I just thought I would make a few extra loafs and call it good.
Well, news travels fast on the coconut express and soon I was spending all day making bread. One friend in the village even asked if we were running a bakery. Luckily we found a place that sold the flour bulk but then, one day, it was gone....all of it. You couldn't find wheat flour on the island - and if they did have it they wouldn't sell it. Ya, the stores wouldn't sell wheat flour. It was like powdered gold. We haven't been able to get it since so we are back to our original dilema....so, if you're reading this, consider this our message in a bottle. Don't send help, send wheat flour.

Freezer Bread / Pita Pockets
3 tb yeast
3/4 c warm water
1 tb sugar
6 c warm water
3/4 c oil
3 tb salt
1 c sugar
about 12 c whole wheat flour

In a bowl mix yeast, 3/4 c warm water and 1 tb sugar and set aside to activate the yeast. Next, in a large bowl or in a mixer pour in 6 c warm water, oil, salt, and sugar. Dump in 8 cups of flour. Now, add the rest of the flour 1 c at a time till it is doughy and sticky but doesn't stick to you. Knead for 10 minutes. Now place in an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once it has risen, punch it down and divide into 10 equal loaves. Now, this is the moment of decision. What to do with the dough.
If you are making bread then place the dough in separate oiled loaf pans or on a cookie rack to make artisan bread. Let rise for another hour then bake on 350 for about 30 minutes or till it passes the thump test.
If you want to make pita pockets out of it, or some of it, then roll out each loaf in 3-5 rounds. Pre heat the oven to 500 degrees and place a cookie sheet in the oven upside down to heat up. Place your rounds (as many as will fit at one time) on the cookie sheet and spray around them with a water bottle. close the oven and let them puff up. The steam from the water helps them puff. Keep a constant eye on them. They will be done in less then 5 minutes.
If you want to freeze the dough then do this after the first rise. Place in a large Ziploc freezer bag. When you want to use it, pull it out and let it defrost on the counter. Once it is pliable, roll it into a pita or form into a loaf, let rise (it won't rise as much but it will still rise a bit) and bake as usual. Note, we turn the oven on for 5 minutes on 'warm,' then stick the dough in to rise. Be sure to turn the oven off though before the dough goes in.

2 comments:

  1. I am so happy I think that I could cry. You don't form the dough into loaves before freezing it? Rhoades style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aunt Choody -

      I'm glad you like the recipe - This one is very versatile! I love it too. We made freezer rolls, loafs, pitas, pizza etc out of the frozen dough. You can form it in loaves and freeze it in the pans so when you pull it out and let it rise it will be all ready to put in the oven.
      Let me know how it goes!

      Enjoy!

      Delete