There is nothing quite like fresh baked bread out of the oven, but there are some kinds of bread we always thought were beyond our skills. Imagine our delight when we discovered we could make pita bread at home and enjoy a warm pillow of yeasty bread fresh from the oven.
Every step along the way and every tip we give you is all so that your pita will puff up into a pillow, creating a pocket that is perfect for tasty fillings.
Here’s what you need to know:
Mixing the dough:
Adding a little whole wheat flour gives your bread a sturdier texture and an earthier flavor, but just a little bit! More than 15-20% whole wheat to all purpose or bread flour will hinder the gluten development, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?
Keep it in the bowl:
Knead the dough in the mixing bowl — you want to keep your dough pretty wet, so it will stick to the sides of the bowl. If you add enough flour so it won’t stick to a board, it will be too dry. So keep it in the bowl while you fold and knead, or use a dough hook on a stand mixer.
Keep it thin:
When you’re ready to roll it out, make your pitas no more than ¼” thick. You’re going for that puff, and you need a thin pita to let that happen.
One good turn:
The air bubbles have been forming in the bread as it rises, so give your pitas a flip before sliding them in the oven to keep both sides even.
Heat + trapped air = pockets:
Your oven will need to be very hot, and you’ll want to bake on a pizza stone. Basically, you want the air in your pita to expand before the bread gets firm.
Create a pocket for your pockets:
When you pull the hot pitas out of oven, keep them loosely wrapped in a clean dishtowel. This prevents them from drying out as they cool.
Pan fried pita?
If you’re trying to get a nice charred look and your pitas look a little pale coming out of the oven, give them a turn in a hot, dry skillet on the stovetop.