Pita Bread
May 11, 2011

by stacy
Published on: May 11, 2011
Categories: Flat Breads, Pita
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“Pita loaves are great fun to make.”
-James Beard, Beard on Bread

Pitas are the only commercially produced bread that I’ve bought since starting this project.  I was in the mood for some beef pita pockets and vegetarian pita pizzas for dinner this week, so on Monday night I decided to try making some pitas myself.

Here are the ingredients:

Pita Bread Ingredients

Because Beard’s recipes run on the salty side, I cut the amount of salt in half from one and a half tablespoons down to three quarters of a tablespoon.

Pitas are rather time-consuming.  After letting the dough rise for an hour and a half, I divided it into 8 small balls and then let those rise for a half hour.  Then, I rolled each ball out into a circle (some of which were more circular than others) and let the circles rise for another half hour.  Finally, it was time to put the pitas in the oven.

Pita Bread After Third Rising

Since I don’t have two ovens, or an oven large enough to fit two cookie sheets in it at once, I had to bake the pitas two at a time.  This recipe requires a bit more finesse than the bread recipes I’ve tried to this point.  Per instructions, I set the oven at 500 degrees.  For the first batch, I baked them on the bottom shelf for 5 minutes (per Beard) and on the top shelf for 2 more minutes (Beard recommends three to five minutes, but my oven runs hot).  The pitas came out a little over-browned.

Pita Bread

For my second attempt, I took the pitas out of the oven after their five minutes on the bottom shelf.  This was much more successful: the pitas were “puffed up like balloons and just very lightly browned” as Beard says they are supposed to be.

Pita Bread

The next morning, the pitas had mostly deflated.

Pita Bread

I saved sampling them until today, when we made pita pizzas with hummus, feta cheese, spinach, tomato, and onion.  The texture was perfect–soft and spongy.  The flavor was excellent as well, so cutting the salt amount in half was definitely the right decision.  I’m already looking forward to the beef pita pockets we’re making tomorrow night with the rest of the batch!

Pita Pizza

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