One could hardly be blamed, based on my recent lack of posts, for thinking that I have not been cooking much of late. However, one would be misled! It is merely that I have been too hungry upon dinner completion to pause to photograph my creations. (Also, some of them have been less photogenic than one might desire.) However, my attempt at pita bread turned out quite well, and was willing to smile for the camera.
My pita-making urge was brought on by reading a post by Helen at Beyond Salmon about honey garlic eggplant. There are still lovely eggplants in the greenmarkets, so this was irrisistable. One of her suggestions for serving the grilled eggplant was in pita bread sandwhiches. So, Krissa decided to make her own pita pockts.
I have been baking my own bread (not often enough, I admit) for the past 5 years, and can make a passable spur of the moment flat bread, muffins and scones are no problem, I even make double batches of pizza crust and freeze it for later. But somehow pita has been intimidating. Perhaps I’m afraid it won’t pocket?
Since the acquisition of my pizza stone earlier this year, I’ve been a little braver with this sort of thing, so pita it was. My recipe was drawn from the Joy of Cooking, the place to start for anything you’ve never tried before. I chose a proportion of 2:1 whole wheat to white flour and followed their directions explicitly (I went out and bought a spray bottle so I could mist my pizza stone).
As you saw above, my pitas pocketed! They ballooned up like little bubbles and then slowly deflated. All but the last one that is. I think its ball sat a little too long before making it into a round and then into the oven.
Dinner that evening was honey garlic broiled eggplant with goat cheese, hummus heirloom tomatoes, carrots, red peppers and lettuce. They were rather stuffed pita, but mmmm, did they taste good.
Joy’s Pita recipe – makes 8 pita rounds
Note: In this recipe, you can substitute any amount of whole-wheat flour for white flour, according to your preference, although the dough may require additional water to be soft and pliable. You may also spray th etop of the rolled-out pita rounds with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds before baking.
Combine in a large mixing bowl:
- 3 c. bread flour
- 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 2 Tbs. melted butter
- 1 1/4 c. room-temperature water
1. Mix by hand or on low speed for aobut 1 minute to blend all the ingredients. Knead for about 10 minutes until the odugh is smooth, soft and elastic. Add flour or water as needed; though dough should be slightly tacky but not sticky.
2. Transfer the odugh to an oiled bowl and turn it over once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature utnil doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
3. Punch the dough down, divide equally into 8 pieces, and roll the pieces into balls. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 450F. If you do not have a baking stone, place a baking sheet upside down on an oven rack to serve as a hearth.
5. On a very slightly floured surface, roll out each ball of dough into a thin round, about 8 inches in diameter and a 1/8 inch thick.
6. Spray the stone or baking sheet with a mist of water, wait 30 seconds, then place as many dough rounds as will fit without touching directly on the hearth (2 in my case).
7. Bake until the odugh puffs into a balloon, about 3 minutes, wait 30 seconds, then remove each bread to a rack to cool. If you leave the breads in the oven too long, they will not deflate to flat disks.