Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Pocket Full of Pitas

Well, I've done the homemade granola bars, pizza dough , bagels and of course tons of other homemade breads. So it was only natural that I should make my own pita bread as well.

I've always liked pita pockets ever since my Grandma Kagy introduced me to them when she went on her big diet back in the late 80s. She stuffed them with bean sprouts and tuna and all other manner of yummy, but healthy stuff. Since then I haven't eaten pitas very often because of the expense. But when I found this recipe over at my new favorite foodie site, I decided to make my own and see how they turned out.

If you haven't been to Confections of a Foodie Bride you need to check it out. She combines great recipes with good writing and funny anecdotes. She posted this Whole Wheat Pita Bread recipe which she originally found in Gourmet magazine. There doesn't appear to be anything too gourmet about it though, so don't let that scare you off. I made 8 pitas from ingredients I already had in my cupboard in one afternoon. There is quite a bit of rising time involved, but if you are going to be at home anyway, it's no big deal...just plan to start in plenty of time to have them done for supper.

Without further ado........Whole Wheat Pitas

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 flour1/4 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 1/2 cups 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.

Source: Gourmet, May 2003

*MY NOTES: I did serve my pitas warm (and miracle of miracles the picky kids liked them) but I also found that they kept very well in a Ziploc bag for a couple of days. A couple of my pitas did not puff enough to form a big pocket. We just used these as a flat bread and dipped them in guacamole and hummus or made sandwich wraps with them. I think making sure the oven is VERY hot helps them puff more.

Overall....a huge success! Next on the homemade food challenge list: Yogurt. Check in next week to see how it went.

For more great recipes and tips check out Tempt My Tummy Tuesday or Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.


Amy said...

Oh! I am so excited to try these. I love making new bread recipes. Thanks so much for sharing.

Amy the SaltyMomma

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Wow, that is great!Thanks for sharing the recipe and linking up to TMTT.

Snow White said...

I can't wait to make pitas -- your recipe looks tasty!

Pam said...

These look so good! Thanks for sharing.

Brenda said...

I have made pita bread before, but never whole wheat.

fblife said...

Those look SO good!