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Hummus and Baba Ganoush with Pita Bread – Guest Post

October 4, 2011

This recipe combination is a guest post by my Jewish-American friend Amelia Geggel.  Amelia is working on a Master of Public Health degree at Harvard and is both environmentally conscious and food savvy.  Amelia’s grandmother and her husband emigrated to the United States from Germany via Switzerland in the early 1930s.  The family tradition of preparing homemade food and celebrating life by sharing it with others was passed down the generations.  Thank you, Amelia, for continuing the tradition!  In this post, Amelia shows us how to make three wonderful quick dishes typical of the Middle Eastern cuisine – pita bread, hummus and baba ganoush.  Amelia says “The easy thing about hummus and baba ganoush is that you can make it to taste adding more or less tahini, garlic, salt, etc as you please.”  Here are the recipes.

Hummus:

  • 2 c cooked chickpeas (if from a can – drain and rinse, if from dry beans, ..
  • 1/4 c (several dollops) of tahini (sesame seed paste, the roasted roasted tahini has more flavor)
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • olive oil
  • water
  • salt

*optional: paprika, cayenne pepper, chopped roasted red peppers, chopped marinated artichoke hearts

In a food processor, combine chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and several tbsp of olive oil and water (if you like thinner hummus, add more water), spices.  Blend until smooth.  If using red peppers or artichokes, add them at this point.


Baba ganoush:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/4 c (several dollops) of tahini (sesame seed paste, the roasted roasted tahini has more flavor)
  • tbsp of lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • olive oil
  • water
  • salt

Pierce the skin of the eggplant in several locations, then place in the oven at 400 for about 30 min, rotating occasionally, until the eggplant is very soft.  The skin will burn.

Remove from the oven.  When cool enough to handle, scoop the inside of the eggplant into a food processor.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Pita Bread:

  • 3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (16 oz./454 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (1/2 oz./13.2 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (6.4 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (1 oz./27 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature (10.4 oz./295 grams)

1. Make the dough: About 1 1/2 hours before shaping, or for best flavor development, 8 hours to 3 days ahead, mix the dough:

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for a 1/4 cup of the flour. With a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until all the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together.

Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto the counter and scrape the dough onto it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding as little of the reserved flour as possible. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as you knead it. At this point it will be very sticky. Cover it with the inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 5 to 20 minutes. (This rest will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.)

Knead the dough for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it is soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary. (The dough will weigh about 27.75 oz./793 grams.)

2. Let the dough rise: Using an oiled spatula, scrape the dough into a large dough-rising container or bowl, lightly greased with oil. Press the dough down and lightly spray or oil the top of it. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight (or up to 3 days), checking every hour for the first 4 hours and pressing it down if it starts to rise.

3. Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 475°F one hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone, cast-iron skillet, or baking sheet on it before preheating.

4. Shape the dough: Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before baking.

5. Bake the pita: Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet or on the baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes. The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown. The dough will not puff well if it is not moist enough. See how the pita puffs, then, if necessary, spray and knead each remaining piece with water until the dough is soft and moist; allow to rest again and reroll as before.

Proceed with the remaining dough, baking 3 or 4 pieces at a time if using a stone or baking sheet. Using a metal spatula, transfer the pita breads to a clean towel, to stay soft and warm. Allow the oven to reheat for 5 minutes between batches. The pitas can be reheated for about 30 seconds in a hot oven before serving.

The original recipe was adapted from the Bread Bible and can be found here.

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