{bread making} Homemade Pita Bread

I am going to a party tonight to which I foolishly volunteered to bring a “snack.”  Since it is my busy season at work and I have spent the last two weekends partying hard, I have not gone to the grocery store in three weeks. So this morning I looked around my kitchen and thought, I can bring rice, wheat or oats.  None of that seemed particularly festive, so I perused my cookbooks for inspiration.  Nada.  I sat and stared and then I thought, we have way too much wheatWhat can I make with flour?

Wheat from our garden

Wheat from our garden on our front porch

Pita bread, I decided.  I have never made pita bread before but proceeded gamely to look up recipes in cookbooks and the web.  I cobbled together the surprisingly easy recipe that follows and then made some hummus to go with it.  Next time I will try increasing the amount of whole wheat I use, but this time I was under social pressure so I used 2/3 all purpose flour to make sure it didn’t come out like bricks.

who knew this hole was functional?

who knew this hole was functional?

To add the water to the flour in this recipe, I poured it into the pusher thingee that goes into my food processor’s feeding tube.  It has a little hole in it and until I read a piece on the glory of food processors by Mark Bittman in the NY Times, I never realized what the hole could do.  It allows you to dribble water into the dough.  It is a brilliant.

Three pitas, fresh out of the oven

Three pitas, fresh out of the oven

RECIPE: PITA BREAD

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, home grown if you have it
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt or local NY coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

METHODS

In a food processor, mix together the flours, olive oil, yeast, salt and sugar.  Leaving the food processor running, slowly dribble in the water and mix for about a minute after the water is all incorporated into the dough.  The dough will form a sticky blob.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board, knead it a couple of times to form it into a smoothish ball.  Place the ball into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.  Let it rise for 2 to 3 hours.

When the dough has about doubled in size, divide it into 12 parts (or more or less depending on your internal concept of pita).  Form the dough into balls and let them rest on a floured board covered with a towel for 20 minutes.

Place a pizza stone or a well oiled, really tough baking sheet on the bottom rack of your oven, as low as it can go.  Turn the oven on to 500 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, roll out the balls of dough into thin circles.

When the oven is hot, place three or four of the circles of dough onto the pizza stone.  Bake for 4 minutes, then turn over and bake for two more minutes.  Remove from oven. Press down on the pita with a spatula to push some of the hot air out and then store them immediately in a plastic bag.  Repeat until you bake all pitas.

I cut my pita into points for dipping in  homemade hummus.  You can use them whatever way you want.

As a final note, the real trick to homemade hummus is to grind it really fine in a blender, as opposed to a food processor, so that it doesn’t come out grainy.  There is nothing culinary that pisses me off as much as grainy hummus.

IMG_3877

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Categories: Bread, recipe

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14 Comments on “{bread making} Homemade Pita Bread”

  1. March 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I would never have thought to make my own pita bread – thanks for sharing:) Happy Monday

  2. March 4, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I had never thought of it either; it was a thought born of desperation and a desire not to go to the grocery store.

  3. Jason
    March 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    Looks very tasty! I just happened to make some pita myself for the first time yesterday. It came out all right, but now I have some ideas for tweaking it.. one thing to mention, I don’t have a pizza stone but I used a cast iron skillet in the oven and it seemed to work well.

    • Dianna
      March 4, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

      Mine actually came out better than I expected in that it looked and tasted like pita bread, a rarity for a first experiment in which I wasn’t actually following anyone’s recipe but taking bits and pieces from three or four places. I hadn’t thought of baking it on cast iron, which is unusual since I cook on it and bake on it all the time. I am sure that would be better than a cookie sheet and would hold up well to 500 degree ovens. Thanks!

  4. March 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Omg this looks so amazing… and so dangerous… I could see myself making this three times a week lol! Have you ever tried adding herbs/spices or infused oils to the dough? Could be fun! Could also be totally unnecessary… either way, bravo!

    • Dianna
      March 4, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

      Since I have never made it before I have definitely never tried adding herbs or spices or infused oils but that sounds like a great idea. It was really good, but the best thing about it was that it truly formed an air space in the middle. It was enchanting.

  5. March 5, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I love making my own pita bread – it’s so fun to watch them puff up in the oven!

  6. March 7, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    I tried making Pita once, but the dough was way too heavy and didn’t puff up so I just told my boyfriend they were supposed to be wraps…

    I’m going to try again, with the pizza stone (because I didn’t think to use it last time!)

    • March 7, 2013 at 9:44 am #

      That is what I was hoping to avoid by using part white flour. I generally am not great at kneading bread, but found the food processor method I used in this recipe to work really well. Mine puffed up nicely in a very hot oven. Some recipes I read called for a 350 oven but I think baking them hotter helps the puffiness; also more traditional recipes called for hot ovens, so I chose to believe them. Good luck.

  7. March 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Wow – this is awesome!

  8. March 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

    I love what comes out of kitchen desperation. I find I do some of my most creative cooking when there is NOTHING in the house. I have never tried my hand at pita bread, I think it would be a good addition to my repertoire. I’m also impressed with using home grown wheat, doesn’t get any more local!

    • March 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

      Scarcity is the mother of invention, apparently. I even impressed myself with this one.

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