I know, I know. As soon as a recipe says "bread" in the title it automatically gets scratched off the wish list. Bread has reached elite status, as if only professional bakeries and grocery stores can provide this staff of life.
Like many recipes on my blog, I started toying around with bread making because I was consistently unsatisfied with the ingredient list on store bought breads (except for Grainfeilds Bakery, they're awesome).
If it exists, it can be made.
And I can make it!
The first recipe I tried was one I found online for Crusty White Bread. It was insanely easy! Obviously the "white" part was not my ideal scenario, but like all recipes I find online, I do them their way first and play around and modify. I still haven't found the perfect version of this bread, but the white bread was such a success that it gave me the confidence to keep playing with other bread recipes. On my quest for more recipes, I stumbled upon an Introduction to Artisan Bread Creations class at Algonquin. I learned a lot during those sessions, but not as much as I expected. We learned how to make white bread, sourdough bread, baguette, bagels, pretzels, and PITA BREAD!
The reason I'm so excited about pita bread is because it's SO EASY! I've successfully made these pita with white flour, whole wheat flour, and whole spelt flour. I'm positive it can be done with any glutenous flour (sorry celiac friends, you'll have to wait for my buckwheat/chickpea flour chapati recipe to enjoy flatbread).
Preparation time: 1-2 hour
Serves: 8 small pitas
- 1 tbsp. yeast
- 1 ¼ warm water (room temperature)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3-3 ½ cup whole grain flour
Mix the water and yeast in a bowl and let sit until it foams (about 2-5 minutes). Add the salt, stir. Add the first 3 cups of flour and mix. If the dough is very wet and sticky, knead in more flour. I typically do all this with clean hands because I find spoons and spatulas don't quite do the trick.
Knead the dough on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it sit for 10-60 minutes. This first rise is not as important as the second one that will occur once they're on the pan waiting to bake.
Separate dough in 8 equal pieces. Knead these pieces into a ball and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, flatten the balls into circles until they're 3-5mm thick. If you have trouble shaping the dough, it can be helpful to let the balled dough sit (but not always necessary). Place the circular dough onto a baking sheet and let sit. This gives them the chance to rise while you preheat your oven.
Preheat oven to 475F
Bake on the lowest rack. Watch your pitas through the oven window but don't open the door unless it's necessary. The funnest part about pitas is that when they bake, they puff out! Once they've puffed out, they're done. Take them out of the oven, the puffing with deflate, and proceed with the next batch.
Serve with hummus and veggies, make a pita pocket with sprouts, create your own shawarma, or fill with peanut butter! Enjoy!