What a fun adventure it is to make pita bread! One never tires of watching them magicly balloon in the oven. This foolproof recipe produces a perfect pita everytime! They are fresher and tastier than the store bought variety which are often baked pocket-less.
Pita Bread was on the menu for a couples cooking class I taught last weekend which really just turned into a pita making party. I served it with Thai Chicken and Peanut Sauce along with an Asian Slaw. Why not try a pita making party sometime? The process offers great amusement…everyone stands around the oven peering in, watching the magic happen. Serve an assortment of fillings and toppings, already made – to put out on a “self serve” buffet.
To begin the process, I started out with whole wheat kernals that were ground fresh the same day I made the flatbreads. This is the second grain mill we’ve owned and it’s performance is far superior to the previously owned one. It grinds so quiet and clean I can keep it on my kitchen counter. The Nutri Mill is available @ The Kitchen Engine along with the Bosch Mixer I use for kneading the variety of bread doughs that my kitchen turns out. However, this recipe will turn out an excellent pocket bread without the fancy gear.
Please keep in mind that the following recipe is doubled in the photos! In other words I made 16 pita’s rather than 8.
Makes 8 (6-inch) pita loavesIngredients
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 ¼ cups warm water (105–115°F)
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 T. vital wheat gluten flour
- 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets
Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Make a “sponge” by whisking 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, and then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, plus the 2 tablespoons gluten flour and mix until a dough forms.
If you have added the right amount of flour the dough should pull away from the sides of the mixer. Knead until dough forms a ball and is smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin.
Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Set oven rack in lower third of oven. Place a pizza stone in oven to preheat. Preheat oven to 500°F.
Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto a pizza stone that’s been preheating the oven. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs, being careful not to poke a hole in the pita, and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining pitas in same manner.
And there you have it…you must try this recipe…it is so easy and so rewarding!!!
Thanks for joining me at my kitchen table!