Pita Bread

pita bread
I don’t know if I had mentioned that two of my kids have been having a bread war. It started with the baguette and has spread to different kinds of bread. Zac has gotten so serious about it that he purchased a book that would unlock the secrets of making the best bread.
The other night, he asked me if I had noticed that Pita bread at the store always seems to be dry? I haven’t been a big fan of pita bread because it does always seems to be dry and my family wouldn’t eat it. Zac decided that he was going to make homemade pita bread and see if you can make a delicious one. He did!!!! It is so moist and it opens up to the pocket so easy and it makes a great sandwich.
Soaker dough:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water

  1. Mix all of the soaker ingredients together in a bowl for about 1 minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough.
  2. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12 to  24 hours.

Biga dough:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup water

  1. Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. Using wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again with wet hands for 1 minute. The dough will become smoother but still tacky.
  2. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
  3. About 2 hours before mixing the final dough, remove the biga from the fridge to take off the chill. It will have risen slightly but need not have risen significantly in order to use it in the final dough.

Final dough:
Use all the soaker dough
Use all the biga dough
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 instant yeast
2 Tablespoons brown sugar or honey
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
* You might need extra flour for adjustments

  1. Using a metal scraper, chop the soaker and the biga into 12 smaller pieces each (sprinkle some of the extra flour over the pre-doughs to keep the pieces from sticking back to each other).
  2. Mixing by hand, combine the soaker and biga pieces in a bowl with all of the other ingredients except the extra flour and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands for about 2 minutes, until all of the ingredients are evenly integrated and distributed into the dough. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky; if not, add more flour or water as needed.
  3. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll the dough in the flour to coat. Knead by hand for 1 minute, incorporating only as much extra flour as needed, until the dough feels supple but tacky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.
  4. Start kneading the dough for 1 minute and make any final flour or water adjustments. The dough should feel supple and only a little tacky, almost like satin. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature, about 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1 1/2 times its original size.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, divide it into 8 pieces, and form each into a tight ball. Place the balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper , cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 45 to 60 minutes, until the pieces have grown to 1 1/2 times their original size.
  6. Preheat the oven as hot as it will go and prepare it for baking. Place the baking stone into the oven before you preheat the oven. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough into a flat dish 4 to 5 inches. Dust the disk with flour and return it to the sheet pan. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Starting with the first disk, start from the center, roll it out to the edges into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.Try to keep the dough as even in thickness as possible and do not roll any thinner than 1/4 inch.
  8. Dust the disk with flour and return them to the pan, so it can rest. Cover and do not disturb for 15 minutes.
  9. Lightly flour a baking sheet. Slide the dough from the sheet onto the baking stone, and close the door. The pita should take about 2 minutes to begin to puff, but check on it after 1 minute. As soon as the dough puffs up, it is nearly finished baking. If it puffs and then collapses, that means the steam escaped from a hole, but the pita will still have a pocket. Give the puffed bread 20 seconds to finish baking, then transfer it to a cooling rack. Do not wait for it to develop a crust, or it will not flatten when removed from the oven. Continue baking all of the pieces the same way.
  10. As the pitas cool, the steam will gradually escape, causing them to flatten out. You can eat them after 10 minutes.

pita bread 1

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