Monday, December 5, 2011

Homemade Pitas

At last, at last - a pita recipe that finally puffs! My dad has been making homemade pita for a while and so I decided to try baking with him one day.  While his batches came out beautifully shaped and puffed, mine always were these ugly, pathetic looking shapes.  Ever since my attempts with my dad, I've tried several times to find a recipe that worked.  I even attempted more complicated ones that included steps like spritzing the dough with water right before the pitas went in the oven.  And while the flavor was always good, none of the pitas actually puffed for me.

However, when I got my tortilla press and had so much success with homemade tortillas, I decided to try pitas once more.  And finally...delicious, delicious success that rivaled my dad's pitas!  Thanks to the tortilla press, the pitas were perfectly round and they puffed beautifully. (My guess is that the press helped me handle the dough less which led to puffier pitas but who knows?)  And I just loved that the recipe was just a standard yeast-based recipe (the dough rises once for 60-90 minutes and then the pita dough balls rest for 10 minutes before shaping and baking) -- no more water spritzing for me!

Whole Wheat Pitas
Taken from: King Arthur Flour
Makes 8 pitas (would be easy to double this recipe and freeze any extras)

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • plain or herb/spice infused olive oil, to brush on finished pitas (optional; I omitted)
  1. Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in the bowl of your stand mixer and stir with a wooden spoon.  Wait 5 minutes for yeast to proof.
  2. Combine the rest of the pita ingredients (except the oil for brushing) in the bowl.  Mix and knead for 6-10 minutes (I used my stand mixer although you could need by hand) to make a soft, smooth dough. Add more water, if necessary.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover with a clean towel, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it's just about doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, start to preheat your oven to 450°F, with a pizza stone (if you have one) on the bottom shelf. 
  4. Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover them, and let them rest for 10 minutes. (My second time making them, I didn't have time to cook them right away so I popped them in the refrigerator for several hours before starting with step 4).
  5. Working with two pieces of dough at a time, roll each into a 6" circle (or use a tortilla press). If you roll the dough about 7" wide, it'll shrink back to about 6". 
  6. Carefully flop the dough onto the hot pizza stone. If you're not using a pizza stone, put it on an ungreased baking sheet, and put the baking sheet on your oven's bottom rack. 
  7. Bake for 4 minutes. The pitas should rise enthusiastically. If they're on a stone, they'll probably puff up like balloons; if they're on a baking sheet, they'll still expand; just not as vigorously. 
  8. Turn the pitas over, and bake for an additional 60 seconds. 
  9. Remove them from the oven, and brush with your favorite olive oil, if desired (I omitted the oil). Wrap lightly in a cotton towel, to keep them soft. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. 

1 comment:

  1. The last time I made pitas about half of them puffed while half of them remained totally stuck together. Who would have thought that a tortilla press was the secret!