Friday, January 9, 2009

Food Storage Friday: Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Mountain Man found this recipe for me while surfing the wide expanse of Epicurious.com; original recipe is here.

No adjustments were needed to make this recipe food storage friendly, but I did use regular flour instead of the bread flour it called for, I just don't have that kind of stuff laying around. I also used canola oil instead of olive oil--hey, I'm on a budget here!

Ingredients: White flour, whole wheat flour, oil, honey, salt, yeast, warm water, and cornmeal

Add the yeast to a large mixing bowl

Add the honey, it's best if you just eyeball it, honey can be such a pain to get out of small measuring utensils.

Now add 1/2 cup of the warm water.

Stir it all together and set aside for five minutes.

While you're waiting, in a separate bowl, mix the wheat flour and the white flour together with a whisk.

After five minutes, the yeast mixture should be foamy and bubbly. If not, toss it out and start again.

Get a 1/2 cup of the flour mixture

And add it to the yeast mixture.

Whisk it around well,

And then cover the bowl with saran wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 45 minutes. I usually sit it by the window in the sun, or if its a little chilly in the house, I'll turn the oven to 'warm' or 200 degrees F and turn it off when it reaches the temperature. Then I set the bowl on top of the stove, so the warm air travels up through the oven and indirectly warms the yeast.

After 45 minutes you will have a bubbly mixture that should have doubled in bulk.

To this mixture, add the oil


the rest of the warm water

and the remaining flour.

Stir it all together

Until it forms a sticky dough.

Clean and flour a counter top

Dump your dough out and lightly flour the top of the dough

As you are kneading the dough, you may need to add more flour to keep it from sticking to your fingers and the counter top. Just add a little at a time, I usually sprinkle it on little by little.

You don't want to have too much flour, it makes breads dense and well, gross. I should know I totally messed up a batch of english muffins on Wednesday by adding too much flour.

Knead away for 8-10 minutes. I set a timer because quite frankly, dough is always elastic, right? Did you enjoy my one handed kneading shots? I really needed a tripod for Christmas and didn't get one. Maybe for my birthday. (If that wasn't a subtle hint, Mountain Man, I don't know what is).

At the end of your time, your dough should be elastic. And smooth. Or at least smooth-er. Shape into a ball.

Spray your bowl with cooking spray or oil it (why dirty another dish?)

And turning once to coat, add the dough and cover with saran wrap. I used the same piece. I'm economical like that.

Let the dough rise for another hour or until doubled in bulk.

While you're waiting, sprinkle a couple of cookie sheets with cornmeal.

When your dough has doubled...

Punch it down, go ahead-show it who's boss. As a kid, I used to love watching my mom punch down dough.

Score, or however you divide dough, into 8 pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball and place it on a floured surface, I just left mine dirty.

Also, lightly flour your rolling pin.

Flatten the ball of dough with your hand

And using your rolling pin, roll it out to be 6-7 inches in diameter.

Place it on the cookie sheet and roll the rest of them out.

I ended up with nine, not quite sure how that happened.

Cover your pitas with clean cloths and let them rest for 30 minutes.

When you come back, they will have risen slightly. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. You heard me, crank it up, and make sure your kids are tied to the TV, either literally or figuratively because there's going to be lots of open oven time.

Lay the pita breads directly on the lowest oven rack. Take the higher rack off, it'll just get in the way. Do four or so at a time and set the timer for 2 minutes.

When the timer rings, open the oven, see how they've puffed up. This is when you realize, 'hey! I'm making pita bread!'

Using tongs, or whatever useful kitchen tool, flip the pitas over. Be very careful. I massacred many a pita--just ask Hannah, she was taking pictures. There's no way I'm talented enough to flip pitas in a 500 degree oven and take a picture at the same time. It's something I'll aspire to though.

Close the door and set the timer for an additional minute.

When the timer rings, your pitas are done!

Gently pull them out of the oven and let them rest on a cooling rack for 2 minutes. Finish up the rest of the batch, four at a time.

After they've cooled, wrap them in foil to keep them nice and warm.

Oh boy were these delicious. I served them with chicken salad, which I doctored up with a little curry powder, soy sauce and sugar. YUMM-O!

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 cups flour, plus additional for kneading
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets

Combine yeast, honey and 1/2 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir together then set aside for five minutes. In a separate bowl, mix white flour and wheat flour together with a whisk, set aside. After the five minutes, make sure the yeast mixture is foamy. Add 1/2 cup of the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Combine. Cover with saran wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.

After yeast mixture has doubled, add oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and the rest of the flour mixture. Stir well into a dough. Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add a little bit of flour when it is needed. Shape into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover with saran wrap and let rise for one hour.

When dough has doubled, punch down and separate into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten with hand, then roll out with rolling pin to make a circle with a 6-7 inch diameter. Place dough round on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Roll out all the sections. Cover cookie sheets with clean cloths and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degree F. Place an oven rack on the lower part of the oven and remove the other rack. Lay the pitas, four at a time, directly on the oven rack. Cook for 2 minutes or until just puffed and golden, turn over and cook an additional minute. Let rest on a cooling rack for two minutes then wrap in foil to keep warm until serving.


MeadowLark said...

That oven looks suspiciously like mine. Which makes me think I might even be able to make these. But I'd still like to see a full frontal shot of that puppy. Mines from 1959 and extra wide. I love it!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

I've made this before and it's so fun to see the breads puff up! Although the 500 degree oven always used to set off my apartment smoke detector. I'm so glad I live in a house now!

Chef Penny said...

Quick tip to get honey out of a spoon is to spritz it with Pam before you out the honey in. It will slide right out. Thanks for the recipe! I'll have to try to turn it gluten free this weekend. We love pita bread.

Bobbi Jo said...

Great recipe! Thank you for sharing with us. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Paula said...

I think this is worth the try. Thanks, I adore pita bread.

Joanna said...

You're back! I finally decided to post a comment wondering if you were ok, and here you are. Hope everyting *is ok.

Now off to look at the recipe...

Anonymous said...

I'll try this next week. It looks like a fun cooking project to do with my boys.

Alyosha said...

You are crazy domestically talented. I know better than to even attempt something as complicated as that.

Stephanie said...

Okay, this looks absolutely delicious!! Thanks for the recipe. I've got to try it.

da bunch said...

I'm eating one right now down to the chicken salad. yummo.. the only difference is, I subbed powdered wht beans for the oil, yay it still works.

M and B said...

These are heaven with hummus, oh, yum. My 3 year old requests them every week. One thing I've found that really helps the pitas come out better is placing a cooling rack (like you would cool your cookies on) on top of the oven rack while the oven is preheating and place the pitas on that instead of directly on the oven rack- it prevents a lot of pita casualties!