Joined May 11, 2001
Has anyone here made pita bread? I made some before using the recipe in Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Bread and I don't really remember how that was, but it couldn't have been all that exciting. On the weekend before July 4th, I made a batch using the recipe from Baking with Julia. I baked half the dough that weekend and the rest this past weekend. What fun! They puff (and I mean puff!!) up like balloons. I turned the light on in my oven, sat cross-legged in front of a 500 degree F oven (with a heat index of over 100 F outside the house) and watched each batch puff. Not all of mine puffed up... some I rolled too unevenly or pulled too thin. The dough was very soft and elastic. I don't know if it was supposed to be that way or if I just didn't get the gluten going or if using bleached all-purpose flour made a difference. I subbed bleached flour for the unbleached in the recipe because I ran out of unbleached and I have lots of bleached for making flaky pie crusts. I can't knead too well by hand anymore because of overly-stressed wrists (computer all day) so I have difficulty developing gluten in dough at times. As for taste, not bad although would be better with unbleached flour and I think I'd like to try a different brand of whole wheat pastry flour next time. I used Bob's Red Mill brand and it had a little off taste.

I think I'd make the recipe again next time I'm bored even if just to watch them puff or I can make fatta with them which will mask any off taste. However, any tips on making great tasting pitas would be appreciated.
Joined Dec 30, 1999

Pita is the Greek name we call the bread in the West. It is the staple of the Middle East where it is called Khubz.

They are definitely supposed to puff up "cook until the bread balloons fully. To help the process along, you can press gently with a towel on those areas where bubbles have already formed, trying to push the air bubble into areas that are still flat. (This is a technique that will quickly improve with practice)" From
this recipe.

Do you have a heavy duty mixer like a kitchen aid? If yes, then you won't have to knead by hand.

You do want the dough to soften and stretch as it is kneaded and it is traditionally made with unbleached flour.

Since you enjoyed the pita so much, you might also want to try making Lavash which is Armenian Flat Bread.

Look here for recipes:

Pita Bread Recipes

More pita bread recipes.

Lavash recipes.

:p Enjoy!
Joined May 11, 2001
Thanks cchiu! Especially for the Corby's Table link. The recipe I used is an Alford/Duguid recipe and looks much like the one on that link but that link has more tips. I think I'll go find the Alford and Duguid book on Flat Breads when I go home to Vancouver later this week. I know I can order it online, but I like to look at the books first. I also reserved a copy of In the Sweet Kitchen.

I was delighted with how the pitas puffed because I don't think they puffed quite so high when I made them ages ago. They puffed so much that I thought they would pop.

I do have a KA mixer but it's in Vancouver and my mom puts it to good use every now and then. It seemed too heavy to bring with me on the plane, especially since I'm only planning to be in Illinois temporarily and I didn't think I'd be baking much. I bought a KA Professional about 8 years ago and I love it. I think I may just buy a 2nd mixer -- either a refurbished heavy duty or a used one on e-bay. I find myself baking more and more because of the inspiration I get from ChefTalk.
Joined Aug 20, 2010
I'm replying to this old thread because first, I don't want to start a new one and second, I'm trying to set a new record for the oldest thread replied to. I'm replying after 12 years, so I think I'm doing quite well!

I want to share my method of making Arabic bread, which I think many other users might find useful. First, make any bread dough that is sort of medium-hydrated. The kind of flour and other ingredients are up to your taste and fantasy. I would e.g. use 250g of semi-fine white wheat flour, 15g of fresh yeast, 5g salt, 2 tbsp. olive oil and enough water to form a dough that is not too wet and not too tough, which I knead with a long spatula in a bowl for about 10 minutes. Let it rise. Then pinch off a piece and roll one pita bread.

Now the method. You will need two heavy-bottomed pans or one such pan and one heavy-bottomed pot/saucepan. Preheat them really well on a stove, especially the one that will come on the top. Now put the rolled dough in one preheated pan and put the other pan (or pot) on top of the pan. This, I believe, produces much more heat than any oven might ever hope to and what's more, it's extremely easy and practical. The bread, if rolled evenly, will puff up like crazy. After about one minute, check the bread. The bottom should be nicely crispy with dark brown spots, the top puffed and soft - just the way I like it - crispy and soft at the same time. It's a best-of-both-worlds thing.

I also believe it would be possible to prepare the dough even days in advance and keep it in the fridge. This way you can have pita bread anytime you want in just a couple of minutes.
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