I needed a bread recipe that used whole wheat flour, which would give the dough a darker color. Also, the bread dough needed to be pliable and not expand too much while baking. I decided on a pita bread recipe based on a memory of my attempt to make pita bread. I remembered that pitas contain ww flour and are easily shaped. I also knew from experience that when the pita breads aren't rolled out thin enough or if the oven temperature is too low, pitas don't puff up, which was bad for making pita bread, but perfect for my Sorting Hat idea.
I tried it out on the day of the party, hoping it would work as I planned. I made the dough, shaped it, and baked it. It was a success! I chose to serve it along with a spinach and artichoke dip I made right before the party. The Sorting Hat bread turned out to be quite an interesting but delicious dish at my Harry Potter feast.
Sorting Hat Pita Breadadapted from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water (80-90°F)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups flour
In a large bowl, add the sugar and warm water. Stir in the yeast and let the mixture proof for 10 minutes. Once the yeast is bubbly, mix in the whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, until the mixture is silky smooth. Then set aside the mixture for 30 minutes to 8 hours (the longer this sponge is left alone, the better the flavor). Once time is up, stir in the salt and olive oil. Then mix in the flour. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 2-3 hours, until doubled.
Making the Sorting Hatpita bread dough (above)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Form a large cone out of foil, about 8 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter. Punch down your dough and take 2/3 of it, keeping the remaining third covered. Spread out the dough in a large circle, like you would a pizza crust, so that it's big enough to cover the cone. Spray the foil cone with nonstick spray and then cover it with your dough. Pinch deep grooves for the eyes, mouth, and random wrinkles. Place the dough covered cone on a baking sheet,on its side, face side up.
Raise the temperature of the oven to 425°F. Now either spray the bread with the face with nonstick spray or brush it with melted butter. Stand the dough up so that it's no longer on its side. Lower your oven racks so the bread fits and place both trays of bread back in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Let cool a bit on a cooling rack. Finally, place the bread covered foil cone on top of the hat bottom when ready to serve.
Spinach and Artichoke Dipadapted from cookinglight.com
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (8 oz) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese with 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese. Add in the yogurt, pepper, garlic, artichoke hearts, and spinach. Mix to combine. Then add in the cream cheese. Transfer the mixture into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and 2 tbsp Parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve hot.
Makes 5 1/2 cups. (In my picture above I used 2/3 of the recipe)