Pita bread

I tried making pita bread last summer, but I ended up with… Well, I don’t know, pan-fried dough, I guess. It was good, but I wanted something that actually had a pocket on the inside. This time, I was successful!

Isn’t that awesome?!

The recipe come from Saveur, a cooking magazine that I really hated. (Pretentious, for one. Unappealing recipes. A lot of advertisements. Sections on travel were useless to me.) I bought a 2-year subscription because I felt sorry for the door-to-door salesman who pitched it to me. (One year left to go…) I’m so glad that I got at least 1 good recipe out of it. They credited Claudia Roden for this one.

1 pkg yeast (I used rapid rise, but I recommend using regular yeast)
1/4 tsp sugar
2 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c bread flour
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 T olive oil
1 T kosher salt

The original recipe called for 6 c of unbleached all purpose flour, but I wanted to make a whole wheat version and also ran out of bread flour.

Proof yeast with sugar and 1/2 c of warm water. After 20 minutes, add 2 c of warm water. With the mixer on low, add 1 c of flour at a time, kneading until incorporated. Cover and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. ETA: Add the oil and salt. Knead again until dough is smooth and elastic (medium speed, 7-10 min). Cover and let rise until doubled.

Heat a pizza stone and oven to 500 F. I let this heat for a long time (~45 min) to make sure the stone was ready. Separate the dough into 16 balls, keeping the unused dough covered. Flour each dough ball and roll into a 7″ circle. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Slap 2 or 3 circles on the pizza stone and bake for 4 minutes. (I had a hard time keeping the dough from stretching when I transferred it to the stone. Maybe I rolled it too thin?) They will puff up like magic! This was the most supercool baking moment EVAR.

I buttered them after I took them out of the oven. So good! I think I will have to make falafel again.

15 thoughts on “Pita bread

  1. Extremely cool! I have always wanted to give this a try…you have inspired me to take the plunge. Thanks for the yummy photos of all those MICHELIN-MAN puffed up tasties.

  2. I got a similar recipe from Julia Child’s not-French TV show and books. Unfortunately, I can’t bake them until the dog dies: setting the oven at 500F tends to make my smoke detector cranky, and said dog freaks …

  3. Ooo, thanks for sharing the recipe you had success with! DH tried making pita bread a couple years ago and we also ended up without real pockets. We’ll have to give this one a try with some of the recipes in one of our new acquisitions – Olives & Capers (which I recommend, BTW).

  4. Yummmm! Fresh out of the oven pitas sound so lovely. Your picture makes me wish our oven had a window in the door, I’m so sad I’ll miss watching the bread puff. *Sigh*

  5. Yeast?! I’ve never used yeast. IIRC, Laurel’s Bread Book has an excellent ww chapathi recipe that I also made thicker for pita, sometimes baking them in the oven but often just using a heavy cast iron skillet on the stove. Love pressing the edges with my spatula and then rolling the back across the center and having the bread go POUF. Muktananda liked banana in his chapathi dough, but I always had trouble with scorching when I tried it — needed a better stove I think.

  6. I would eat it for lunch tomorrow! 🙂 I do hope you are having a pita party or that you have one hungry husband on hand!

  7. Those are fun – we tried making naan not too long ago, and now we might have to try these! If you haven’t checked it out, I recommend Fine Cooking – it’s the opposite of pretentious, and all of the recipes we’ve tried have been not only tasty, but well-written too.

  8. Your pita looks delicious. Your puffy pita reminds me of when I had an incident with a kitchen fire. I tried to make naan in the broiler of my 1930’s Wedgewood stove. When the bread puffed, the flames above caught the whole thing on fire…uhm, we did w/o the bread.

  9. I made it over the weekend. It was really cool to see the rounds puff up! Now we are up to our armpits in bread. Two comments, though – The recipe instructions didn’t say when to add the salt or oil, so I didn’t end up putting it in. They did turn out undersalted, but the texture didn’t seem to suffer from the lack of oil, although that could explain why they were so crisp. After a day in the fridge they’ve softened up so they actually could be used for sandwiches. The other comment is where to put the rounds while they rested – I used 4 1/4 sheet pans, 2 per pan, stacked crosswise on each other, then 2 small cookie sheets on top (2 per sheet), and a separate board for the last 4. It was a challenge! Oh, and I used 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 3 cups of bread flour, and they turned out very yummy – wheaty but still soft enough.

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