30 Minutes Hands On…..
I want to start off by saying that I am going to try not to draw this post out with long explanations. There are some tips and tricks that I will be throwing your way, but in no way is this recipe complicated, and I don’t want you to look at a long laundry list of do’s and don’ts and regret even thinking of attempting this. It took me two weeks, and 3 attempts, to get this recipe just right, so I am just trying to avoid you having to do the same thing. I researched, and I studied, and I spent hours, until I got this right. I refuse to be defeated by food!
I know that most people think that making bread products is a very time consuming task, but I don’t feel that it is. The total hands on time is about 30ish minutes. If you are going to be around the house for about 2 hours, you can do a bunch of other stuff during the rise time. I wrote a blog post, did some dishes, cooked a few other things, and did some laundry. If you don’t want to do any house stuff, sit and watch a movie! (You can even go run a few errands if you will be back within about an hour.)
TIP 1: When you are heating your water don’t bother with a thermometer. Every time I try to get an exact temperature I have a yeast fail. Turn your hot water on in the sink and let it run until it is hot. You can stick your finger in it without burning yourself, but it is hot enough you can’t hold your finger in the running water.
TIP 2: Create a warm environment and also heat your bowl. While I mix up my dough I preheat my oven to 170’f and stick my metal mixing bowl in the oven to heat. When I am done mixing the dough in the 4 cup measuring cup that I use I drip the leftover olive oil that has settled in the measuring spoon into the bottom of the metal bowl (DON’T FORGET TO USE A POTHOLDER TO TAKE IT OUT!), transfer the dough into the bowl, cover with a towel, and after turning off the oven place the bowl inside for an hour.
TIP 3: This is THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP. My pitas didn’t puff the first time, and only a little the second because I wasn’t kneading the dough enough before letting it rise. I didn’t want to make it tough. Well, guess what, you’ve gotta get rough with it. Get those gluten molecules working. You’ll be able to see it changing as you knead it. After mixing it up into a ragged dough transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and knead it for about 7-10 minutes. Roll, fold, and use the palm of your hands. Don’t be afraid of it. THIS IS KEY!
TIP 4: Cook your pitas on the very bottom rack of the oven. Don’t worry, they won’t burn. Don’t overcook them. If you allow the edges to brown, it is hard to make a full pocket. But no worries! If something happens to where they aren’t “pocket worthy” you can always make gyros! 😉
If you follow these few tips you should be able to make fresh, homemade pitas without a problem! You don’t need any special tools; it isn’t going to take all day like some cooks will make you believe that it will. You don’t even need to stay in the kitchen the entire time unless you really feel like you want to. You will find your efforts, and the taste, super satisfying. Take a few minutes, whip up some pitas, sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Have you ever made pitas?
Do you have any tips you would like to share?
What do you like to fill your pitas with?
Honey Whole Wheat Pitas
By Angie Gouchenour
½ cup hot tap water
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ – 1 3/8 cup wheat flour
Preheat oven to 170’f and place metal bowl inside
In a large measuring cup, or separate bowl, combine hot water, yeast, honey, olive oil (Set the measuring spoon to the side), and salt and gently stir
Let the mixture sit while you measure the flour (Use the dip method), combine the baking powder with the flour
Stir flour mixture into the yeast mixture until a ragged dough forms
Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead dough for 7-10 minutes until it becomes a firm, smooth ball of dough
Turn off the oven, carefully remove the bowl with a pad, use the olive oil from the measuring spoon to grease the bottom of the bowl, place the dough in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Place the bowl back in the oven
Allow dough to rise for an hour or a little longer until it doubles in size
Remove the bowl from the oven and preheat to 500’f (I know that sounds high, but it is necessary)
Gently knead the dough to release the air bubbles and separate into 4 pieces
On a lightly floured surface roll each little dough ball into a thin circle (To thick and they won’t puff)
Put two circles onto a baking sheet and place on the bottom rack for 5 minutes (You’ll see them puff)
Move them from the lower rack to the middle rack for 2-3 minutes to finish cooking (Try to avoid browning the edges)
Remove and wrap in a towel to cool while finishing up with the other two circles
192 calories per pita
Modified from King Arthur’s Flour