Friday, February 5, 2010

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread



I found this recipe on Epicurious several years ago and still have not found its equal. And as a yeasted bread recipe goes, it’s surprisingly easy and low-maintenance. In fact it’s a great thing to do in the middle of a day at home that’s full of lots of other domestic tasks, because you never have to spend more than 10-15 minutes on any one step, and you have up to an hour in between steps to paint your toenails, do yoga, fold laundry, whatever. The original recipe had less wheat flour, but I don’t find that the increase is at all detrimental. I’m pretty sure that after you make these you will be VERY hard pressed to go back to store bought pita…

1 (1.4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 ½ tsp)

1 tsp honey

1 ¼ C warm water

2 C Whole wheat flour

1 C bread flour

¼ C olive oil

1 tsp salt (high altitudes require a little extra salt)

Stir together yeast, honey and ½ C warm water in large bowl, let stand about 5 minutes. In the meantime stir together flours in another bowl. After 5 minutes your yeast mixture should be foamy and look like this:


If it doesn’t foam, either your yeast is too old, or your water was too hot.  Whisk ½ C flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. At this point it should look like this:


Stir in oil, remaining ¾ C water, salt and remaining flour mixture until a dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and kneed until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour in warm place. After an hour it should look like this:


Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each into a ball, then flatten and roll into 6-7 in. discs. Place discs on baking sheet and cover with clean kitchen towel for 30 minutes.


Set rack in lower third of oven, and preheat oven to 500º. Transfer pitas, 2 or 4 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Look at those babies puff!


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