Saturday, August 9, 2008
WHOLE WHEAT PITA BREAD
This was an adventure for me and I had a blast making these. I got this recipe from Recipezaar and had immediate successful results, well within a few hours anyway. Now that I'm on South Beach for a spell I'll just dream of eating these again in a little over a week. Something to look forward to for sure.
The reader comments alluded to some difficulty with the final baking process but I used a baking stone that I keep in my oven and I was able to put the four pita's on at one time to bake and they turned out wonderful. I used organic whole wheat bread flour, that I found at Chestertown Natural Foods, for the entire recipe and had no difficulty with the rise. In fact, I had never found that type of flour before and was tickled with the results. In step two I added the flour in 1/2 cup increments and wound up noting that I needed a 1/2 cup less flour then what the recipe called for. I also added 4 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten at the end of this step too just for "insurance".
Whole wheat pita bread (recipe # #308249)
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105 115 F)
2 cups bread flour or hi-gluten flour, plus additional
bread flour or hi-gluten flour, for kneading
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
cornmeal, for sprinkling baking sheets
1. Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.).
2. While yeast mixture stands, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.
3. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
4. Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
5. Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.
6. Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack.(or on a screen) Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.
7. Cooks' note: Pitas can be baked 1 week ahead and cooled completely, then frozen, wrapped well in foil in a sealed plastic bag. Thaw before reheating, wrapped in foil, 10 to 12 minutes in a 350°F oven.
This is a fun rainy day project. I'm enjoying learning about baking bread and had never made pita before. I will do it again once I'm to be trusted around bread again.