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Pita Arayes
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Techniques

Butchery skills - learn how to break down and debone a leg of lamb, sharpening your knife skills and your understanding of how to work with different muscle groups from different meat cuts.

Dough and flatbread making - discover the different hydration levels that are required for a flatbread, and harness the natural gluten of your dough to get a good puffed rise.

Building a fire and cooking on a grill - gain an understanding of how to structure your fire to allow for different heat zones, using charcoal or wood - maintaining suitable cooking temperatures with direct grill contact.

Ingredients
Serving Size
Serves: 4-6

Bread

  • 1kg strong bread flour
  • 18g dried yeast
  • 30g demerara sugar
  • 700ml room temperature water
  • 45ml olive oil
  • 10g salt

Lamb

  • 10 Pitas (see bread ingredients above)
  • 500g minced lamb – 15% fat
  • 1 large white onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • Baharat spice mix

Green Tahini

  • 240ml high quality raw tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup chopped mint leaves
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ice cold water
  • salt
Equipment
Utensils

1x spatular, 3x large mixing bowls, 1x food processor & blade, 1x tray, 1x parchment paper, 1x chef knives, 1x chopping board, 1x scales, 1x large frying pan, 1x rolling pin, 1x tongs, 1x pairing knife, 1x charcoal bbq, 1x fire lighter, 1x wooden spoon, 1x pastry brush

Pre-Preparation

No pre-lesson preparation needed.

Cooking Method
Step 1

All right guys, we're going to start off by making the pita. I've got all my ingredients in front of me, we're going to mix everything together knead it with our hands and then proof it before shaping and cooking.

I have my white strong bread flour, my sugar and yeast. That goes straight in all together, and before using any liquid I'm just going to start mixing it all. Now, add in your liquid and give it a really good mix bringing it together into a rough ball. Start working the dough in the bowl and then take it out and put it onto our flat surface and using our hands start working the dough. We need to spend a good 5 - 10 minutes to work the dough. During this time, add in your salt and knead it throughout. After 10 minutes we should have a nice strong pita dough, it's so nice, I love it.

What we need to do now is place it into a fresh bowl with a sprinkle of flour and then cover with a clean cloth and it will be ready in an hour or so. We can now give our station a good clean and get on with our next job.

Step 2

So, let's grab a really strong mixer and also make sure you have your meat and fat ready to go. Take your lamb chunks and cut down any large pieces and then in batches add them to your mixer. Now, pulse your blender so we get an even mince. Turn out into the bowl and then process the remaining batches into a mince. Now we want to add some of the beautiful fat to our mincer and blend to a smooth mixture. Now add this to your lamb and all we need to do now is chop some onion and parsley and add it to our lamb and mix really well.

Clean your board down and let's move on with our recipe. We've got all our minced lamb and fat and now were going to move onto our flavourings. Peel and dice your onions and garlic into a medium, rough chop making sure they are the same size, put it straight into the bowl and then mince your garlic. Next, slice your mint and then roughly chop through it (we want all the flavours to be in every bite), followed by the parsley, which you want to dice and put straight into the bowl. Season with salt, cracked black pepper and a touch of baharat spice mix.

Step 3

Now get your hands into the mixture and really squeeze, press and work the mixture together incorporating all the flavours. We want to do this for a good 2 or 3 minutes. Now leave this to rest for ideally 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge and let everything get to know each other.

Step 4

Now, have a look at your proofing pita dough, if it has risen up your bowl and doubled in size we are ready to go. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface. We now want to portion the pita into 100g pieces. Once you have one bit of dough portioned, roll into a ball and leave to rest on a floured surface to one side. Repeat until you have all the dough divided into 100g balls. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Clean your surface down whilst waiting for the dough to relax.

Put a large frying pan onto the heat and get it nice and hot. Flour your rolling pin and gently begin to roll the dough into a circular shape, once you're happy with the shape and thickness, place it into your hot pan and reduce the heat. Leave the pita to cook. You should see it begin to bubble, flip it over and we should begin to see the dough puff up. Keep the dough moving and allow it to cook thoroughly. Once cooked, place in a clean cloth to keep warm and then roll and cook all your pita.

Have a quick clean down.

Step 5

Let's make green tahini. Grab the food processor and set it up ready to blend our herbs. Into a large bowl add your raw tahini and then quickly chop through your herbs (to help our food processor). Into the processor add your herbs, garlic, lemon and salt. Blitz until it has all combined and become a green liquor. Now use this beautiful liquid to make your tahini. Taste for lemon and general seasoning (adjust as needed).

Step 6

Now go and grab your lamb kebab. We should have our pitas and lamb ready. Take your pita and cut it in half and then using a small knife open your pocket cutting it right down the middle to open it up. I'm going for a rustic arayes so i'm going to take a portion of the lamb and then place it into our pita pocket. Then with your fingers spread the meat all the way into the corners of the pita (we don't want to put too much meat in, this isn't a burger). After, press the pita between your hands gently making sure it's flat, and that is our beautiful classic arayes. Once more take a portion of your lamb mixture and to an open pita pocket place the meat pushing it right into the corners with your fingers. Then press the pita together making it completely flat and pushing any trapped air away. Repeat across your remaining pitas.

Step 7

Ok guys, welcome to our bbq section, the first thing we need to do is light up our grill. What we want to do is create a nice dome with the charcoal, get it nice and hot and then move it around the grill to make two heating zones. So, first things first i'm going to place 4-5 lighters on the bottom and then pile the charcoal on top and then very simply light up our firelighters and then we need to leave it to do its thing.

Place your lid on your bbq with the holes open and leave to burn until we can see white coals and flames.

Once hot, let's very carefully move our coals into two areas. One with a larger covering of coals that would increase our heat and create a hotter zone. The thin layer will be the colder zone where we can cook our arayes more gently. Brush your grill with olive oil and then the outside of the pitas and place straight onto the hot side of the grill. Get some colour onto the pita to make it nice and crispy. Keep turning the arayes and then once coloured move to the colder side of the grill to finish cooking.

Step 8

Remove the arayes from the grill after about 10 minutes (feel free to cut into a pita if you aren't sure it's fully cooked). Cut the arayes in half and then serve on a plate along with the wonderful herb green tahini.

And thats it guys, enjoy!

Eyal Jagermann
's Notes

Step 1

Pita Bread

I mix my yeast through the dough before adding any liquid so my yeast doesn't come together and clump up. This mixing is a simple way to ensure we get even proofing and flavour in our pita.

Tip: always keep one hand clean and dry.

This is supposed to be a wet and sticky dough, but we can happily add some more flour to make it more manageable.

Kneading is an essential skill to have in your repertoire and is used across a huge variety of different doughs. The skill can be up to interpretation with the main goal of tearing and stretching the gluten strands. The main techniques I would use are:

Pushing and pulling: with the heel of your hand, push the dough away from you across the worktop (as you knead the dough this will become more elastic and you'll be able to get a longer stretch), pull the elongated bit of dough back to the centre and turn to the right. Repeat the process for as long as the recipe requires.

Flipping and Turning: grabbing the far side, pick up the dough and let it hang in front of you. Flip the bottom end of the dough onto the work surface, and whilst still holding the dough, fold it over the anchored section on the counter. Pause. Repeat the process by turning the seam, which is currently horizontal, to the right or left, so that the seam is now running vertically once more. Repeat the process for as long as the recipe requires.

Knead your dough until it's nice and smooth and also has an elasticity to it.

Great places to leave your dough to proof: airing cupboard, warm window ledge, warm kitchen, proofing draw or an oven on the lowest setting with the door open.

Step 2

Always set your mixer up first to make sure it's working.

Use the pulse setting to get an even mince rather than continuous where we may get a bit of a mush.

Our 15% fat quantity is essential to a good arayes. It means the fat will render inside the pita and create an amazing moist texture to the meat and a crunch to the pita.

Ask your butcher for lamb fat, they will often give some fat for free.

Weigh your mince meat and add 15% of its total weight in fat - this will vary depending on how much lamb you buy.

Secrets to a kebab

  • Onions are for me, a necessity.
  • We must work the mixture to create a relationship between all the herbs, meat and fat.
  • The herbs, onion and garlic help create the texture of the kebab.
  • Work the kebab mixture like dough for bread.
  • Leave your mix to rest for a good hour before shaping.

Chopping herbs

There's a couple of ways to chop herbs, if you are chopping a large bunch like me, I tend to roll and tightly pack the herbs together by twisting them against the board and then very simply roll the knife through the herbs once - letting the knife do the work.

If you have large leaves such as mint, pick them and then stack each leaf on top of each other. Once together, roll tightly like a cigar. Then roll your knife through creating what the french call chiffonade.

Step 3

Really work the lamb mixture - we want everything to combine throughly.

Leave your kebab mixture in the fridge to rest before shaping.

Step 4

If you have a pizza stone, this is the perfect time to use it by putting it in a hot oven and using it for our pitas.

Portion your pita in the sizes you want, I'm going with 100g each.

Pita

The pita bread can be traced back thousands of years to the stone age where this pocketed bread was made from wild wheat grains. They were a key corner stone to the diet and would often be cooked in a tannur oven.

Shaping

The shaping is very similar to Tomer's recipe:

  1. Bring the edges of the dough to the centre. Flip.
  2. Cup or surround the dough with one hand.
  3. Keep the dough surrounded and keep contact between your hands and the work surface at all times.
  4. Rotate the dough on one spot either anticlockwise or clockwise. Repeat for 10 - 20 seconds or until you have a smooth and taut top to your dough.
  5. Leave to one side and repeat across 6 dough balls.

Bench Rest

A key step when creating a dough that is shaped, is to allow it to rest. This stage is called "bench resting" we allow the gluten in the dough to relax again and continue to develop. This relaxation helps us with shaping the pita before putting it in the pan.

When we cook our pita, what will happen is as the pita begins to cook, the moisture in the dough will create steam as it's heated and puff the dough up.

Don't worry if your pita doesn't puff up and create a pocket, this ancient technique can take some time to perfect - we need to get the temperature of the pan exactly right, the thickness of the dough and the hydration of the dough just right.

Keep your pita slightly thicker when rolling it out.

Step 5

Shake your tahini before opening so we distribute the natural fats.

Leave your tahini in the fridge to slightly thicken up and serve with the arayes.

Step 6

If you want to, you can weigh out your meat in relation to the number of pita breads you have, however I like to keep mine more rustic adding more or less meat depending on the size of the pocket.

The beauty of this recipe is that everything up until now can be made a day or two in advance.

Step 7

One of the first forms of cooking meat, is cooking over hot coals and flames and thanks to its high temperatures browning-reaction aromas are generated.

This grill arrangement is very flexible as we are able to create two heating zones. One that is very hot with the hot coals a couple of inches away from our arayes and then a cooler zone where we can cook more gradually.

Keep moving the pita, turning it over so it colours evenly and cooks evenly.

Pass your hand over the grill to feel the different temperatures in the bbq.

Step 8

I like serving this on some parchment paper with generous amounts of green, herby tahini.

Get Creative
  • Kebab - Go wild with your choice of meat and flavouring. Ive given you a great base kebab mixture that can be flavoured in anyway you like. Try using half lamb to half beef rump cap.
  • Pita - Get creative with your pita bread. Trying using different flours when making your pita, or cook it differently to me with a hot stone in your oven.
  • Tahini - Use yoghurt as an alternative to tahini in this recipe. Chop up your herbs really finely and mix it through the yoghurt to create another green and herby sauce.
Allergens
  • Sesame
  • Wheat
  • Always check the packaging as allergens may vary depending on the supplier.
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Eyal Jagermann
I think food is at its best when it’s fresh, simple...unpretentious. The most important thing? Ingredients - I am obsessed with quality.