Bread is an amazing thing. Combine four simple ingredients, flour, water, salt, and yeast, and you can come up with so many different loaves, rolls, flatbreads, pastries, and other wonderful and delicious breads.
For example, pita bread. How do little rolled out disks of dough suddenly puff up while baking, creating a big pocket of air, ready to be filled with tasty salads, spreads, or vegetables?
It's pretty magical!
This recipe makes 16 pita breads. Fortunately, you can keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to a week, and tear off a piece to make a pita bread when you want one. These can also be baked either in the oven or on a griddle.
The dough begins with a sponge, a mixture of the yeast, water, and the whole wheat flour. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor you develop. You can use it within 30 minutes of mixing it, but it's even better to let it rest up to eight hours.
We made some burgers with ground lamb, onion, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, mint, salt, and pepper, and used these pitas in the place of hamburger buns, dressing the burgers with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and yogurt sauce.
I also used these pita breads to make these Eastern Mediterranean Pizzas, another Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, and these Garlic and Sea Salt Pita Chips.
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Mix the yeast and water together in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the whole wheat flour and stir until fully combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 8 hours.
- Sprinkle the top of the sponge with the salt, and add the olive oil. Mix with a spoon or dough whisk.
- Add the all-purpose flour, one cup at a time, and stir. When you can no longer stir the dough with a spoon, move the bowl to the stand mixer and knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes. The final dough should be fairly firm and shiny.
- Cover the dough and let it rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Position a pizza stone on a rack positioned on the lowest position of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500/550 degrees F.
- Divide the dough into four pieces and cover each with a damp towel or plastic wrap.
- Working one piece at a time, divide it into four equal pieces, and form them into balls. Roll each ball into a 6 to 8 inch disk.
- Bake each disk for about 7 minutes, flipping halfway through. The disks should puff up while baking.
- Cool on a wire rack, covered with a towel.
These are best eaten the day they are made. They can also be wrapped and frozen for up to a month. Reheat in a 350 degree oven.
Adapted from Baking with Julia, edited by Dorie Greenspan (as in Tuesdays with Dorie!).