I’ve always loved experimenting with new recipes. Sometimes I tweak recipes I know I already love. Sometimes I make a brand-new-to-me recipe. Today it was pita bread. I Love making chicken gyros for my family. The kids mostly eat the chicken in store bought pita or Mediterranean bread from Trader Joe’s. My husband and I love piling on the tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, and romaine on our gyros.
So the next logical thing for me to do was make my own pita! I found this awesome recipe on Cook’s Illustrated (aka America’s Test Kitchen). Since I’d never made pita before, I figured it was best to try out at least one, following directions.
As with all bread type recipes, it’s not the complexity that may sway a cook not to try something, but the time involved to do it. You have to plan for these things. The rising times can be anywhere between 3-24 hours, depending on the type of bread. And often there are several rises involved. This has never bothered me. I love seeing the process and what makes things work or not work.
This is a delicious recipe. But I think my oven is wonky because they didn’t bake consistently. The bake times were way different for me than what was written in the recipe. I have an oven thermometer hanging from a shelf in my oven because I was pretty sure that the temp was off. I noticed that when the oven beeped the temp was ready, I’d check the thermometer and it’s never as high as it says. I also think having to open and close the oven so many times made a huge difference in the quality of bake for these pitas. I imagine if I had let the oven come back up to temperature in between baking the pitas, they would have browned better. It totally didn’t affect the taste – just appearance. And my family rarely cares if a food looks Instagram-worthy!
You most likely have all the ingredients in your pantry. The one thing I would stress is using bread flour (King Arthur is my go-to for specialty flours). And the reason is there is a higher protein content in bread flour. Sometimes you can substitute an all-purpose for a bread flour. But King Arthur has one of the highest proteins in a bread flour and you need it for gluten development. It also makes this wonderful pocket – just like REAL pitas 🙂
Hope you’ve found inspiration from my blog and if you make a recipe and like it (or even don’t!), drop me a comment and tell me what you think.Print
- 2 2/3 cups|14.6 ounces King Arthur Bread Flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/3 cups ice water
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 4 teaspoons honey
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- To make pitas: whisk flour and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add ice water, oil, and honey on top of flour mixture. With a dough hook, mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.
- Add salt to dough and mix on medium speed until dough forms into a satiny, sticky ball that clears the sides of the bowl, 6-8 minutes). Transfer dough to lightly oiled surface and knead until smooth.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and lightly spray with oil.
- Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape dough pieces into tight, smooth balls. Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet. Spray tops of dough balls lightly with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours, up to 24.
- One hour before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position and set baking stone on rack. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove dough from fridge. Coat one dough ball generously on both sides with flour and place on well-floured surface, seam side down. Using the heel of your hand, press dough into 5-inch circle. Then use rolling pin to gently roll into 7-inch circle. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Roll slowly and gently to prevent any wrinkles. Repeat with second dough ball and brush off excess flour. Transfer dough to a piece of parchment placed on a pizza peel. Quickly slide both pitas onto the baking stone and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. The bottom will be just starting to brown. Flip the pitas over and bake 2 to 5 minutes more. The pitas should puff up and deflate when you turn them over.
- Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool. Cover loosely with a dish towel. Continue shaping and baking the remaining dough balls in groups of two.
- Best served the same day, but can be reheated wrapped in foil in a 300 degree oven for 15 or so minutes.
- Do not remove dough from refrigerator until ready to shape and bake. The dough needs to remain somewhat cold for them to puff.
- The first couple batches of bread turned out great for me. But I noticed that the more I had to open and close the oven, the longer the bake time. The goal is a quick bake with high heat so they puff and create that pocket. I recommend letting your oven temp come back up between batches for the best outcome.