Monday, August 1, 2011

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I know what you're thinking...what is THIS doing on this blog?  And you're right, it's not sweet or decorative, but these homemade pita breads are so fun to make that I just couldn't help myself.  They are especially fun to make with the kids.  Don't worry, I won't get carried away and stop posting desserts.

I've had this recipe for many years.  It came from a cooking show with Julia Childs.  Start by mixing 2 1/2 cups of warm water, 1 tsp. yeast, and 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour in a large bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least 30 minutes.  It will get bubbly and grow.
Next, mix in 1 Tbs. salt, 1 Tbs. olive oil, and enough all purpose white flour to make it smooth and firm.  The amount of flour varies with humidity, etc., but it should take somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 cups.  I start by stirring in as much as possible with the spoon and knead in the rest.  Place the dough in an oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size.

Now it  is ready to use.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces.  This will make a large pita that is great for making a gyro sandwich.
Using plenty of flour on the work surface to prevent sticking, press out each piece of dough by hand and set aside to rest for approximately 10 minutes.

In the mean time, have your oven heating to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  The recipe calls for a baking stone which I don't have.  I used a cast iron griddle instead.  Place the stone/griddle in the oven to pre-heat.

Using a rolling pin roll out each pita nice and thin.  Place the pita on the hot stone/griddle and bake for approximately 4 minutes.  Hopefully you have a window in your oven because this is where it gets really fun!  As you watch them bake, they begin to puff up into the loveliest little pillows.  I shot a short video so you can watch it happen.

If you make these with your kids, it's better than TV.  They will stare at the oven to watch them puff up.

Thank you for bearing with my non-dessert post.  I promise not to let it happen too often.