Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What a P-I-T-A

Now that I finally have some success in baking and working with yeast, I thought "Why not try making bread?" After putting it off for a while now (chickening out) I decided to make pita bread to go with one of my favorite dinners - chicken gyros.

Well.....due to my sub par baking and planning skills, and ability to work with flour and cornmeal without turning the kitchen into a disaster zone....making and cleaning up after the pitas were a pain-in the you-know-what.

It wasn't the recipe...it was me. I learned 2 lessons - read the entire recipe carefully before beginning, and leave some extra time before when you need them for the meal. But overall, the end result was wonderful - although they weren't perfectly round or completely flat, they were fresh, soft & tasty. I definitely noticed a difference than store bought pitas, and I would make a double batch of these again to freeze.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Found on Confections of a Foodie Bride; Originally from Gourmet

1 package active dry yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115°F)
1 1/2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets

Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2cups flour mixture until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Set oven rack in middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 500°F.

Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining pitas in same manner. Serve warm.


Joelen said...

Great job! These are on my list to try soon!

Stephanie said...

These look so good! I've been wanting to to make my own pitas.

gaga said...

My one attempt at pita didnt turn out quite right, but you can't beat fresh homemade bread, even if it doesn't turn out exactly the way you wanted. Maybe I'll try this recipe the next time I decide to brave another attempt!