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Pita Bread

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Recipe adopted from atHome Artisan Breads by Eric W. Kastel.  [Recipe makes (14) 3-ounce pieces].

Last summer I got invited to a cookout with my sister and her co-workers.  Everyone was assigned a course to bring, and being that I was in charge of an appetizer, I decided to make some hummus.  Debating what to bring with the hummus, I ended up buying some pita bread, quartering them, and throwing them on the grill for a minute.  It all turned out fine, but after the fact, I regretted not making the pita from scratch.  After the better part of a year later, I finally got around to making some homemade pita bread.  Despite the fact that you have to prep the recipe the night before (for this specific recipe), it was pretty easy to throw together.  If you've made naan before or another type of flatbread, the process is very similar.

In addition to serving as a great alternative to the chip for dipping sauces, or the base to a gyro, pitas are great for stuffing, due to the fact that they puff up in the oven and remain hollow after cooling.  Although the filling choices are endless, consider trying some Greek ingredients (chicken, tzatziki sauce, red onion, and tomatoes) or key components to your favorite salad.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cups water, 55° F
6 1/3 ounces (~1 1/4 cups) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/2 cups water, 95° F
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon malt syrup
20 7/8 ounces (~4 cups plus 3 tablespoons) bread flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

The night before you plan to bake the pita, get the poolish going by mixing the water flour, and yeast together in a large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours.

The next day, add the water, vegetable oil, and malt syrup to the poolish.  Combine the bread flour with the yeast and add to the bowl.  Lastly, add the salt, and then mix on low for 4 minutes using the hook attachment on a stand mixer.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl using a rubber spatula, and mix on medium for an additional 3 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 60 to 75 minutes.  [Side note:  The dough will be much stickier than most yeast doughs].

Transfer the risen dough to a floured surface, and divide into 3-ounce pieces (or 14 pieces total).  Shape into balls, lightly flour, and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes.  Next, roll out each piece until it is roughly 5.5 inches in diameter.  Lightly flour, and then transfer to a tray.  Use a floured cloth in between layers to prevent sticking.  Cover with plastic wrap again, and let rest for 25 minutes.

During this time, place a pizza stone on the middle rack of your oven, and preheat to 500° F.  Once ready, transfer the pita bread to the stone and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they've puffed up but haven't browned much.  [Side note:  This will have to be done in several batches, depending on how big your pizza stone is].  Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.

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4 comments

  1. The hummus was delicious with the store-bought, but this homemade pita looks really good! I'd say to make it next time, but I'm guessing you'd probably want to try a whole different appetizer.

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    1. Yeah, we'll have to make it when you're back. But maybe a whole different appetizer would be nice :)

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  2. My pita was never as good as my Lebanese grandma's. It was good but not great, until I made your recipe. The poolish made all the difference. I was able to easily stretch the dough to make the paper thin large lavash loafs. They were tender and crisp and just like I remembered! Great recipe.

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    1. That's awesome to hear Sadie! Glad this one's a winner :)

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