Feb 11, 2013

Pita bread

Monday, Feb. 11. 2:30 pm (CET). First, third and sixth pita bread, counting from the bottom, on the picture above,  are the best. I added some color to the rest and that was a mistake. Not a big one, I've had worse.

They supposed to be white on top and just very slightly golden on the bottom. Otherwise, they come out crunchy. But if you leave them covered, after a couple of hours, they soften up anyway. They are able to open and be stuffed with your favorite things. I drizzled mine with olive oil and put a sliced pickle (form my mom's pantry) inside. Hania is eating one just plain...too lazy or tried after school to put a tomato in. I'm lazy and/or tired too.

The recipe is basic. The dough is very much like for a pizza, but the final brushing with oil/water mix makes a difference. It keeps the dough down and moist. The time in the oven is minimal, from 5-7 minutes. 

Only 2 to 3 pitas will fit on one baking sheet. I used the oven 3 times. And every time, baking was happening faster. The first three baked 6 minutes and they are white. The last two baked 7 minutes and they are burned. I had a serious discussion with Julian during the process. It's better not to have serious discussions with a significant other while you're baking pita breads. You'll mess up your pitas, your day and your relationship will remain... a mess.

The funny thing is that Julian is enjoying the burned pieces. He probably thinks I made chips. I guess he wasn't listening.

Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano

time: 20 min preparation + 2h 40 min rising + 5 min baking = 3h 5min


500 g (3 1/3 cups) flour
12 g (.4 oz) fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
12 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
300 ml (1 1/4 cups) tepid water + more for finishing
30 g (3 flat Tablespoons) olive oil + more for finishing


In a small bowl, crumble yeast, add sugar and about 50 ml water (4 Tablespoons, taken from the whole amount) and mix till all liquid.

In a medium jar, mix together the rest of the water with salt, add olive oil.

In a bowl of a standing mixer, sift flour. Add the yeast mix and combine it just a bit with your fingers. Add the water mix. Attach the needle end to the mixer and knead the dough for about 5 minutes till smooth. Take it in your hands, form a ball. Oil the mixing bowl (extra oil), put the dough back in the bowl. Cover it with a plastic wrap and put it in a warm place (oven, turned off) for 2 hours, till it doubles in volume.

After the dough has doubled, dived it in 8 pieces (100 g/3.5 oz) each. Form balls in your hands. Roll them till about 2 mm (.08 inches) thin and 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter. Place them on parchment paper (cut to fit a baking sheet). Brush them with a mix of olive oil and water (about 1 Tablespoon of each). Cover with a wrapping paper and keep them in room temperature for 40 minutes. At the end of 40 minutes, spray them with some water. I forgot.

Preheat the oven to 250C/480F (static function) with 3 baking sheets in it. Take a hot baking sheet out, place pitas with the parchment paper on the first baking sheet. It's a bit hard with one set of hands. Call for help if available. Put it back in the hot oven and bake for 5 -7 minutes, one sheet at the time, till slightly golden on the bottom and white on top. If not used right away, put them in a glass container or a glass baking dish.

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