WEEKEND PITA PROJECT

I grew up enjoying one of my favorite breads,  pita, on a weekly basis.  In Brazil  it’s called “pao sirio” (Syrian bread).  As I’ve mentioned before,  Middle Eastern food is very popular in Sao Paulo, so my weekends often included visits to a particular spot that sold bags of freshly baked flat bread.  It was similar to what we call  “pita” here in the US,  and usually associate with Greek food.    The current bagged stuff at grocery stores pales in comparison to freshly baked pita, and it’s so easy to make that once you master this technique,  I doubt you’ll go back to the commercial versions.   Unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to have a Middle Eastern bakery right in your neighborhood…   ;-)

This recipe comes from Dan Lepard, and you can find it  by  clicking here. You can also read a discussion about it in his forum by following this link.

Dan’s method involves a simple dough (flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil, a little salt) prepared with his minimal kneading procedures, divided into 8 portions, and each one rolled into an oval or circle about 5mm (1/4 inch) thick.   The flat breads bake over a blazing-hot baking sheet for a few minutes, until they puff (or not, depending on how well you hit the correct thickness) and acquire a hint of color.

When you hit the jackpot – the slightly elusive, “just-right”  thickness,  you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully puffed up balloon in your oven!

Comments: Whenever I succeed in baking bread with my electric oven, I wear a smile and walk  on top of the world for a few days!  Baking 8 pita circles took some patience and fiddling with the oven.  Besides baking one at a time, I had to start with the rack in the center, and as the bread puffed up I quickly moved it to the lower position.  Against all odds, I didn’t burn myself!   It took me more than an hour to bake the full batch, which told me that the dough can sit at room temperature for a long time and still produced great pita!  ;-)

By the way, if your pita doesn’t inflate as a balloon, it will still be delicious.  In fact, I like to roll a few slightly thicker, because they produce a softer bread, with more crumb and a chewy texture.  It’s a nice change from the “pocket” version, that also re-heats a little better next day.

I am thrilled to submit this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting, my first this year!

ONE YEAR AGO: Tried and Tasted Round-up

11 thoughts on “WEEKEND PITA PROJECT

  1. Sally, those look great! It looks like you’ve definitely mastered the art of baking pita bread. I’ve made them a few times, and you are right — they are so much better than anything you can find in the grocery store.

  2. I’m psyched to try this recipe, Sally. I lived in Israel for 6 months in my youth and came to appreciate freshly made pita. And we have a luscious Turkish restaurant in our town now, and their fresh pita is the highlight of any meal there.

    I’ll make a batch this week and let you know how it goes!

    • Nice to “see” you, Paula!
      Yes, definitely try this recipe, and I hope it will be as good as the bread you enjoyed in Israel. Sometimes it’s hard to mimic stuff from our past, though – you know, memories are always so special!

    • Barb, strong white flour is just what in the US we call “bread flour” – quite often recipes by Lepard and other bakers call for a mixture of bread flour and all purpose in certain proportions, trying to mimic European flours that may not be available everywhere.

Click here to comment, love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s