Sunday, February 3, 2013

All-in-one Pita Bread – best supporting actor !

Pin It

Pita is as plain and simple as a fact of life or the bald-faced truth... There is just no embellishing it. It is a back-drop for better things; the base melody; the supporting actor. Unfortunately... when the back-drop is flawed, when the base melody is off key, when the supporting actor stinks, it is all too obvious.
I bought pita recently and it wasn’t Oscar-winning material by a long stretch. As well as the handful of ingredients essential to creating this simple bread, it contained a list of extras as long as your arm, all there to extend shelf-life.
If pita isn’t up to scratch, then it drags down the rest of the meal. However, when this pocket bread is good, it is a building block of snack perfection, the perfect party bread, the best supporting actor in a luscious portable lunch.
Warning: once you have tasted homemade pita bread, commercially-produced stuff will never be good enough ever again.

For 8 perfect pita pockets you will need...
... to pre-heat the oven to 225°C at step 3

350g plain flour
125g finely ground wholemeal flour
7g sachet of fast acting dried yeast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fine table salt
280ml tepid water (35 - 38°C)              


1.      Place the first six ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water and mix until the ingredients come together in a ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 7 - 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky. To knead, fold the dough in half, then holding it in place with one hand, use the heel of the other hand to stretch the dough away from you, along the floured surface. Again fold it, rotate it about 1/8th of a turn and again press it away from you with the heel of your hand. Repeat, enjoying the yeasty scent and the silky feel of the dough as any woe or stress dissipates through your hands – bread-making is cheap therapy. (If, however, you have no woes, and possess a stand mixer with a dough-hook, 5 minutes in the machine will be sufficient.) Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover with cling film or a clean tea towel. Leave in a warm, draught-free spot for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
2.      Divide the dough into eight equal pieces, kneading each just long enough to shape it into a smooth ball. Flatten into a disk and leave to rise until again doubled in size and a finger poked into the dough leaves an indent (about an hour). If the dough springs back into shape, leave it to rise for a further half hour then test again.
3.      When you are ready to cook the bread, pre-heat the oven and boil a kettle of water. Place a baking dish on a lower shelf in the oven and carefully add some boiling water. This creates the perfect steamy atmosphere for this bread.
4.      While the oven is heating, roll out the dough disks into rounds about 3mm thick. Put 2 or 3 on a baking sheet and place in the hot oven. After about 3 minutes they will have puffed up impressively. Remove them from the oven before they’ve had a chance to turn golden (You can see I was so busy with my camera, I forgot that instruction myself and a few of them acquired a bit of a tan!) Cool on a wire rack. Cook the remaining breads.


My favourite way to use pita is to toast it then fill it with felafel and all the trimmings.
What's your perfect pita moment?
Pin It

20 comments:

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Hester, I love that you posted a recipe for Pita Bread - homemade is so much better than store bought! And your recipe sounds deliciously simple! The picture of the perfect baked baked is really wonderful.
Have a great Sunday evening!

Grubarazzi said...

These are awesome! I've always wanted to make my own. Now I just have to try it :)

Work Life Balance said...

Brilliant - they look infinitely better than the crap I have bought in the past. I will be making these to support my favourite act - tapenade...
A winning team :-)

Hester said...

@ Andrea - I'm all about easy :) I've been told never say never, but my firm intention is never to buy pita again.
@ Grubarazzi - will be looking out for what you decide to make with that promising-looking avocado on fb - perfect with pita!
@ WLB - love your new website, Dee. Mmmmm tapenade would be wonderful with pita (now I have a tapenade craving and no olives!)

Michelle @AmourBeurre said...

I still don't have a kitchen scale :( I definitely will try this with suggested conversions though, fingers crossed!

Happy Valley Chow said...

Great job! These look awesome, can't wait to try this recipe. I've never made my own pitas, I will definitely have to try. Thanks for sharing :)

Sincerely,
Happy Valley Chow

Guru Uru said...

I have never even dreamed of making these at home, scary stuff :D
But yours look brilliant!

Cheers
CCU

Natalie G said...

Great recipe, I would love to make my own pita bread!

wok with ray said...

I totally agree with you that one flaw, will drag down the entire company of good performers. This pita bread that you made from scratch for sure is many times better than store bought ones. Have a great week, Hester! :)

David said...

How do they end up with a "pocket"? Falafel and chilli tahini dressing is my favourite filling.

Hester said...

@ David - good question. Steam causes the bread to puff up rapidly during baking and when they cool you are left with a handy pocket in the middle, ready for felafel and chilli tahini :)

Jayne said...

I really love pita pocket sandwiches. This seems really doable too! Might give it a go one day.

Sharon said...

You've won me over. I've been meaning to try homemade pita for ages but this post sent me over the edge. They are now top of my to-do list!

Holly said...

I agree, once you have homemade pita bread there's no going back. I love making it with a homemade lebanese mezze. It's always a ton of cooking for such simple dips and dishes, but so worth it!

Mother Rimmy said...

Hester - your pita bread looks totally amazing. The bread I buy at the store is tough and breaks apart so easily. I'm going to try this myself.

Dorothy said...

the pita looks very crunchy I love it much! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Anne@FromMySweetHeart said...

Hester...these have to be the most perfect pitas I have ever seen. They don't even compare to store bought! These must have been fabulous right out of the oven! For me...I simply love dipping in hummus. I really want to give these a try!

Hester said...

@ Anne - I just happened to have a bowl of hummus on hand when these came out of the oven - aren't they a match made in heaven !

Amy said...

These really look like Oscar winning pita breads to me! Yup....I can wait to whip up a batch of my own. Those pockets are really perfect to be filled with more yummy goodness. Thanks for sharing. ;)

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

OMG this pita bread looks so good. I can eat it out of the oven even by itself! I can totally understand that you won't go back to store bought pita bread once you taste this. I am tempted to try. Looks so delicious!!