pita bread

It’s finally cool enough out to make me want to bake, so we are back to making all our own bread. I like to make a triple-batch of pita bread, because I can throw it into a bag and into the freezer. They are already in portions that freeze well, because no inner-crumb is exposed. I use a recipe from The Bread Bible, adapted to be about 1/2 whole wheat for nutrition. Be warned: once you taste freshly-made pita, you will never want the stuff from the store again.


Makes: 12 4-inch pitas or 8 6-inch pitas.

1.5 cups (plus a scant 1/4 cup if you need it later in the recipe) all-purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour (if you can find the very finely ground middle-eastern variety, atta, this is even better)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
2 tb olive oil
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature or a bit warmer

1. About 1.5 hours before shaping, or for more flavor, 8 hours to 3 days ahead of time, mix the dough:
In a large bowl, combine both flours (excluding the scant 1/4 cup) and yeast. Whisk in the salt (this prevents direct contact between the yeast and salt, which would kill the yeast). Add the liquid ingredients, mixing with a large spoon or your hands until the dough comes together a bit.

Sprinkle some of the reserved flour on the counter or a large cutting board and scrape the dough onto it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding as little of the reserved flour as possible (you want this dough to be as wet as possible, so that it forms a pocket). You can use a bench scraper or large spatula to scrape up the dough as you knead it. At this point it will be very sticky, so let it rest for 5-20 minutes with an inverted bowl over it.

Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes more until it is soft, smooth, and just a bit sticky to touch. Add flour or water as necessary.

2. Let the dough rise: Grease a bowl with olive oil and scrape the dough into it. Press the dough down and lightly oil the top. Cover with a lid or with plastic wrap. Mark the bowl with a piece of tape to estimate where double the height of the dough would be. Then,
-if you want to shape and bake in 1.5 hours, let it sit in a warm-ish part of your house, or in an oven (just with the pilot light on) until doubles-if you want more flavor, and will work with it again between 8 hours and 3 days, refrigerate the dough.

3. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level, with either a baking stone or a baking sheet placed on it BEFORE preheating.

4. Shape the dough:

Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shaped each piece into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Roll each disk into a circle a bit less than 1/4 inch thick. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before baking.

rolled and resting before baking

5. Bake the pita: Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or hot baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes. It should be completely puffed but not browned. If it isn’t moist enough, it won’t puff properly. If this first one doesn’t puff, spritz the pitas with water, knead a little, and re-shape them. If you don’t want to bother with this, they are also delicious without pockets. Finish baking the pitas, 3-4 at a time, allowing the oven to reach 475 degrees after each batch (about 5 minutes). Use a large metal spatula to transfer the pitas to a clean towel. If you want them to be hot when you serve them, you can reheat them for 30 seconds in the oven.

the pita is puffing!

This entry was posted in baking, bread and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to pita bread

  1. What a great recipe! I’m super excited to try this one out. Making your own bread is so much better than anything you can get at the store 🙂

  2. Jason says:

    And oh my gosh was it good! Glad to have the recipe now!

  3. Katy-Anne says:

    I am very excited to try this over the holidays. I’m going to have to eat freezer food nonstop for the next few weeks to clear some space.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s