Can I let you in on a little secret? Making something that involves yeast, flour and then the instructions involve mixing and kneading scares me. It is intimidating and terrifying to me. But I have changed my tune…let’s go!I read through this pita bread recipe via King Arthur Flour a few times before I tackled the great pita project. Combine a few ingredients, mix, knead, rise, divide the dough, roll into balls, rest, roll out into circles, then bake in a screaming hot oven. Easy, right?
I had baking yeast on hand…which is not the same as instant yeast as was suggested. To be sure I would not end up with flat pitas, I ‘bloomed’ the yeast first. How did I do this? Combined the yeast and some warm water in a bowl with an itty bitty sprinkle of sugar to feed the yeast.
Wait, do you spy orange juice? Yes! The orange juice, say the folks at King Arthur, help to tame the tannins of the wheat dough. You could also substitute with water. Next I mixed it all with the mixer attachment then switched to the bread hook – 5 minutes on medium speed and I was hoping all was well!
It is now time to rise! I put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, covered with a shower cap (sounds silly, but it really works) and put the bowl in the warmest place I could find which was on a patch of sunlight on the floor of our sunshine filled den. Thank you, Polar Vortex!) I waited, patiently, for an hour and a half.
Looks pretty good, right? I was happy! Next I divided this dough into 8 pieces, rolled them into balls and rested for another 10 minutes under a towel. I used my digital scale to try and create equally sized pieces.
At this point the camera was moved to a safe zone. There was a screaming hot oven waiting with two large baking sheets heating up. The balls of dough were quickly rolled out to 6-inch-ish circles, put on parchment paper, brushed with olive oil and baked for 4 minutes, flipped and then another minute. It was magic! Pure magic! These flat pieces of dough puffed! Now I had two baking sheets. I read that baking these beauties on the bottom shelf closest to the heat source was best. But..I had two baking sheets. And, leaving the second sheet to hang out in the warm kitchen could have spelled trouble. I had to do some fancy moves, but most of the pitas puffed up just fine!
These are not cooled on a cooling rack but in a towel which ensures they stay soft!
What would I change? I had read that the salt was overpowering so I cut back on that amount. I think it needs the full amount of salt. To ‘fix’ this I will warm the pitas with more oil and a sprinkle of salt. Or, alternately, I will make pita chips to dip in this hummus! Oh, heck yes!!!! Either way – if you are afraid to tackle making pita bread at home – go for it!
- Recipe from the fine folks at King Arthur Flour
- Yields: 8, 6 inch pitas
- 1 3/4 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/2 cups Unbleached Bread Flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast (I used baking, original recipe calls for instant)
- 1 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside.
- If you are using baking yeast: Add the baking yeast to a small dish with lukewarm water, stirring to dissolve and let it bloom. If your yeast does not bloom then it is likely expired.
- If you are using instant yeast: carry on.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the white whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, yeast and warm water. Mix this together with the paddle attachment. When the ingredients are all incorporated put the bread hook dough attachment on and knead this mixture on medium speed for 5 - 8 minutes.
- Put the dough into the oiled bowl and cover it (a shower cap works very well - or - plastic wrap). Let this rise, until doubled in size, for an hour to an hour and a half in a warm place.
- Preheat the oven to 500*. At this point, I put two large baking sheets in the oven to warm as I was rolling out my pita dough. I had two pieces of parchment, which fit the each sheet ready to go as well as a small bowl with olive oil and brush.
- When the dough has risen, turn it out and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Roll these into balls and let them rest beneath a towel for 10 minutes.
- Working quickly, roll each dough ball out into a 7 inch circle - which will automatically shrink to about 6 inches. Place each pita dough onto the parchment, brush with olive oil and place on the hot baking sheet. Bake each pan of pitas, on the bottom rack closest to the heat source, for 4 minutes per side, flip and bake another minute. The pitas should magically puff up in those 4 minutes.
- Wrap the pitas lightly in a cotton towel to cool - this ensures they will stay soft.
- Note: King Arthur says to brush the oil on post baking. I will do this next time, but did not see a problem this time around.
- Reviewers stated the salt was overpowering so I scaled it back to 1 teaspoon. My tastes would prefer the full amount next time!