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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pita bread (perfectly puffed) tutorial (Middle-Eastern) (vegan)

Maybe I shouldn't say this in a tutorial, but this was our first try at pita bread. We were very anxious about it, as we know that there are people who try making it dozens of times before getting it right. They end up with delicious breads really, but delicious flat-breads. Definitely not pitas (which are meant to have an air pocket all inside them, to be filled with delicious stuff afterwards). 
Well, after researching all the do's and don't's out there, we gave it a shot and there perfectly puffed babies sprung out of the oven. And we'll show you exactly how to make it :)
Mostly adapted from here.  

Ingredients (makes 12 small pitas):

  • 1 package yeast
  • 125 ml warm water
  • 375 g flour (plus about 100 g more for kneading and rolling)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml lukewarm water

Pour the yeast in the warm water. Add the sugar and mix. Allow to sit 10 minutes, until frothy. Prepare a working surface. Measure the flour and mix it with the salt (in a large bowl).

Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast water in it. Also gradually pour the lukewarm water. Mix well:

Transfer on the floured working surface and knead it for about 15-20 minutes, adding more flour now and then:

It's done when it doesn't stick to your hands anymore. Prepare a large bowl by coating it with oil (we used olive oil). Place the dough in it, turning it gently to coat it with oil all over. 

Let it rest for 3 hours or until doubled in size. After that, take it out on the working surface and give it the shape of a rope:

Preheat oven to maximum (in our case 250 degrees C). Also put the baking tray (lined with baking sheet) just above the bottom of the oven, so it gets preheated too. Cut the rope in quarters, and each quarter into 3. Shape the little bits into rounds and allow them to sit, preferably covered, while the oven heats.

When you're ready, start rolling each round into a flat circle, about 1/2 cm thick or even thinner. 

Transfer into the oven and let it bake for 3 minutes, then turn on the other side for another 3 minutes. Pour about 20 ml water (a bottom of a glass) into the bottom of the oven (just below the baking tray) before each new batch of pitas (to create steam). Also, after you turn them on the other side, sprinkle a bit of water from the top of your fingertips on each pita. Oh, and try to work as fast as you can so you don't lose heat. That's it.

Look at how perfect even the first one puffed:

Good luck! :)

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