Pita Bread

This weekend I made baked falafel and pita bread. The falafel recipe isn’t one I’ll try again but the pita bread came out great. It was really neat watching the bread puff up! It made great pita pocket sandwiches but it was also good just folded around fillings like a tortilla. A few of mine didn’t puff completely (those are the ones I used like a tortilla). They don’t puff if the rolled out dough has any folds or creases, it needs to be completely smooth. They still bake fine and taste great, they just don’t create the pocket part. I didn’t have a problem rolling them out smooth, it was getting them onto the hot stone without any folds that was difficult, practice makes perfect.

Here’s the flat disk right after I put it on the hot baking stone.

A minute or so later and it’s all puffed up!

They only take a few minutes to bake. Then they deflate as they cool.

    Pita Bread

1 pkg. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 Cups warm water
1 tsp. salt
1 Cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 Cups bread flour (plus more for dusting)

Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl for your mixer. If you’re using active dry yeast let it proof, instant yeast can skip that step. Stir in the salt. Using the dough hook for your mixer, put it on the lowest speed and add the flour a little at a time. Until the dough gathers around the hook in a ball and isn’t sticking to the sides; about 4 minutes.

Continue mixing in the machine until the dough is smooth and elastic (or transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth and elastic). Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl and allow dough to rise until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Place baking stone on the lowest oven shelf (removing others so you don’t bump them with your hand– really, that hurts!). Preheat oven to 500°F.

Punch down the dough and divide it into eight balls. Cover the balls (I lightly dusted them with flour and draped a clean dishtowel over them) and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

Work with the balls one at a time, leaving the others covered. On a lightly floured surface roll each ball into an 8-inch diameter disk. Make sure the disk is completely smooth, any creases or folds will prevent the pita from puffing up. If you think you can manage to get two disks onto your baking stone at once go ahead and roll out two. I was not that capable, so I only did one at a time.

Lay the smooth disk onto the very hot baking stone. Close the oven door and set your timer. They should puff up like a balloon! It takes about 3-4 minutes to cook, they’re done when they are a pretty golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and then transfer to a clean dish towel. Wrapping them up in the towel keeps them soft.

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