This is my entry for A Year in Bread's contest. Also nice to think about as I need to eat the last of our most recent tabbouleh tonight.
Eric loves tabbouleh. Middle Eastern food is the only ethnic food (other than Olive Garden-style Italian) he really likes, and tabbouleh is his favorite. I'm fond of it too. And when I pointed out how cheap parsley is at the grocery store, the natural next step was to make our own.
"We need pita bread," he said when we were buying some parsley, onions, and tomatoes several months ago to do just that. "You can't have tabbouleh without pita bread. Let's get some."
"Or I could make some," I suggested, and his eyes got wide.
I had a book, Rose Levy Berenbaum's Bread Bible, and a small amount of experience with baking bread. I've made cinnamon rolls and egg bread and No-Knead bread and pizza dough; I couldn't see how pita bread would be all that difficult.
So I found the recipe and made some pita dough. The book gave two options, cooking on a skillet or an oven, and since I understood the book to say both were equivalent, I chose the skillet. The resulting bread was fairly tasty--but too thick and too flat, nothing like the thin, dry, hollow rounds we got at the restaurants. "It didn't poof," I complained, bringing the plate of pancake-like pitas to the table. They were lousy for scooping.
"Maybe it'll be better next time," Eric said.
Time passed. I grew a garden, with a big parsley patch and a tomato plant (okay, twelve), and one day we decided the time had come to make tabbouleh fresh from the garden. "And you'll make your pita bread?" Eric said to me. "Maybe this time it will poof."
So I mixed the dough, let it rise, divided it, rolled it, let it rest--with difficulty, for the correct time--rolled it again, and baked it. In the oven. I placed the first round with trepidation on a preheated baking sheet, closed the door, and waited the prescribed three minutes.
I opened the door to a puffy, ballooning pita. "It poofed!" I squealed. Dinner that night was the best ever.