• Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

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    My go-to food while on trips to large cities is some form of gyro sandwich, mostly souvlaki or rotisserie broiled meat on a pita. I get them at shops and foodcarts all over, and thought I’d post a bread recipe for making pita bread.

    There’s nothing particularly special about pita bread from a recipe standpoint except that the dough is fairly moist and kneaded for a long time to develop good gluten so that it can form air pockets. The primary concern with making Pita breads is to maintain moisture on the inside and cook them extremely hot so that the outer two sufaces dry out quickly and energetic steam from the inside is rapidly formed forcing a pocket, or at least a fluffy disc with several air pockets.

    Contrary to what a lot of Home Cooks believe and put on their blogs, pita bread is not generally used by sticking things inside of the pocket. Instead the six to eight inch disc is folded in half wrapped around some sort of meat and sauce content. The idea of cutting it in half and spreading the surfaces apart forming a pocket which you then fill is virtually never ever seen at any professional food service level, it is only seen by home cooks who have somehow gotten the idea of using the pocket and run with it. Unfortunately it generally means torn bread, spilled fillings, and small quantities of filling that can’t be held inside while eating.

    So there’s my pitch on how to properly use a pita. Folks can of course do any darn thing they want with their bread, but after eating pitas at Greek, Halal, and Schwarma places in 100 cities across the US, UK, and Germany, I have never seen any pro food cart or restaurant stick things inside the pocket of a pita.

    Recipe for 8 pita, 7" diameter
    240g or ml or 1cup water, 110f.
    1T sugar, 13g
    2.5 t active fast rise or bread yeast, 7g
    1T olive oil, 15ml or g
    =====whisk together, then add:
    350g bread flour (hard, high gluten), you can replace 70g of it with whole wheat instead if desired for color and flavor.
    1 t kosher salt

    1. Knead flour by machine 8 min or so. Should be a moist dough that just barely doesn’t stick to hands. Adjust flour or water to give that.
    2. Form ball, coat with bit of olive oil, back into mixer bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise 30 min to 1 hr at 80 to 100f until double in size.
    3. Divide into 8 pieces, without kneading much air out. My dough was 640g, so I made 8 balls of 80g each which is about right.
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    4. Roll out to 6 to 8" circles. Should be 1/8" thick, maybe 3/16"… too thick and they will not form air pockets, and will be focacia bread. Too thin and you get tortillas. It’s thinner than the final bread looks!
    5. Place each disc on wax paper, place them on cookie sheet, let rise again for 30 min or so, they will get a wee bit of poof. Use some flour on wax paper too! If you let them sit an hour, they will start to stick to wax paper, it will be a total fail.

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    After 30min rise:
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    COOKING
    6. The entire trick of pita is getting the right thickness, and cooking it hot enough! 475f is the normal temp. You have two methods:
    A. Inside a 475f oven on a baking stone or metal, or a cast iron pan inside oven.
    B. Inside a cast iron skillet and lid on stove.
    The cast iron sounds easier…but getting correct heat so the thing acts as an oven and not a griddle, is tricky. Best to try the oven method first until you see how pockets and puffs form vs. Temp.
    7. Get oven or covered pan hot to 475f. Rapidly so heat isn’t lost, take 1 disk and flip it top side down onto hot surface. Cook 2 to 3min, it should get air bubbles or pockets. You can flip and cook top 1 min if desired, not required if you like the way top looks. Remove when air pockets, color will barely be there! If you cook until color on top or bottom, it will be too dry!
    8. Stack on plate with moist towel on top, the moisture helps with pocket or bubble!
    9. If you want color, toss them later on a hot oiled cast iron to quickly brown, don’t try to get it during fast bake!

    Thats it! If you actually want a big poofy pocket, which you don’t need but may like, here are tips:

    1. Discs must be moist when they hit pan. Flipping top side down lets the less dry bottom be able to stretch to form pocket.
    2. You can spritz some water on top to help.
    3. If you dont get air bubbles, it’s not hot enough.

    Cast iron pan issues:
    Once you get pan hot enough, turn flame down about med. If pan is smoking, it is probably a bit too hot. You want temp to cool juust below that point. It is hotter than pancakes. You’ll need to tweak your method. If bottom gets too much darkness, or burnt, before 1min 30 sec, it is too hot. You want to be able to go 1+45 to 2+00 and get a bubble forming, with just browning on bottom.

  • Iowa Regular Contributors Cast Iron Sous Vide Canning Green Mountain Grill Power User

    Dave in AZ Dave, Dave, Dave! Here you go once again, more homecraft breads. How is one onlooker (aka this one) to be able to keep up with you?? Jeepers Chef!!

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Denny O you can do it! These are pretty easy, and you really don’t need a pocket, so they are hard to mess up so long as you don’t overcook and dry! Go for it!

  • Referenced by  Dave in AZ Dave in AZ 
  • Team Blue Masterbuilt Canning Kamado Joes Regular Contributors Power User Sous Vide Oklahoma

    Dave in AZ great instructions. Thanks

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    cdavis thx Charley! Hope you give it a try sometime!

  • Wisconsin Team Orange Regular Contributors

    thanks for this

  • Team Blue Power User Regular Contributors Alabama

    Dave in AZ I reall ylike those!

  • Regular Contributors

    brings back lots of memories. When we were young a local middle eastern bakery opened up in our neighborhood and my mom went bat sh*t crazy over pita bread. Every sandwich had to be on pita. it stigmatized me. A PB&J just did not work! Nan bread is just pita trying to get on the plate through the back door…thanks for the memories…473

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Departing Contestant lol … my Mom did the same thing! But she loved the pocket, always trying to put stuff in there, always falling all over my plate heh.

    I asked my wife to buy some pitas at store, wanted to compare mine side by side… all they had was flaxseed oatmeal 20grain blah blah stuff. So she grabbed the naan to compare. It’s nice to be able to bang out some pitas, takes about 1 hr total.

  • Regular Contributors

    Dave in AZ please don’t get me wrong, they look wonderful, and I am very certain that they are. I go back to the pita pbj’s that became one of the many small tributaries to the massive river of my psychosis

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