Khoubz Araby (Arab Bread)

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Title: Khoubz Araby (Arab Bread)
Yield: 8 Rd. loaves
Categories: Bakery, Bread

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c Lukewarm water
2 pk Active dry yeast
1 pn Sugar
8 c All purpose flour
2 ts Salt
1/4 c Olive oil
1 c Cornmeal


Pour 1/4 cup of lukewarm water into a small bowl and
sprinkle it with the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture
rest for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the
yeast completely. Set the bowl in a warm, draft free
place (such as a turned off oven) for 5 minutes, or
until the mixture doubles in volume.
In a deep bowl, combine the flour and salt, make a
well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture, the
olive oil and 2 cups of lukewarm water.
Gently stir the center ingredients together, then
incorporate the flour and continue to beat until the
ingredients are well combined. Add up to 1/2 cup more
lukewarm water, beating it in a tablespoon at a time,
and using as much as necessary to from a dough that
can be gathered into a compact ball. If the dough is
difficult to stir, work in the water with your fingers.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead
by pressing it down, pushing it forward several times
with the heel of your hand and folding it back on
itself. Repeat for 20 minutes, or until the dough is
smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and
place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Drape loosely with
a towel and set aside in the warm place for 45
minutes, or until the dough doubles in bulk. Punch it
down with a blow of your fist and divide it into 8
equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball about 2 1/2
inches in diameter, cover the balls with a towel and
let them rest for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 500
degrees (F). Sprinkle 2 large baking sheets with 1/2
cup of the cornmeal or flour. On a lightly floured
surface, roll 4 of the balls into round loaves each
about 8 inches in diameter and no more than 1/8 inch
thick. Arrange them 2 to 3 inches apart on the baking
sheets, cover with towels and allow them to rest for
30 minutes. If you have a gas oven, bake the bread on
the flour of the oven for 5 minutes, then transfer the
loaves to a shelf 3 or 4 inches above the oven floor
and continue baking for 5 minutes, or until they puff
up in the center and are a delicate brown. If your
oven is electric, bake the bread on the lowest shelf
for 5 minutes, then raise it 3 or 4 inches and
continue baking until the breads are puffed and
browned. Remove the bread from the baking sheets, wrap
each loaf in foil, and set aside for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the pans with the remaining 1/2 cup of
cornmeal or flour and bake the remaining 4 loaves of
bread in a similar fashion.
When the loaves are unwrapped the tops will have
fallen and there will be a shallow pocket of air in
their centers. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at www.synapse.com/~gemini