Adventures in Bread Making: Whole Wheat Pitas

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I finally got around to making pitas!  I had dragged my feet with it because I get a pack at the store for a $1 or so and I thought they tasted pretty good.  And then I made these and realized, holy shit I’ve never had a fresh pita before–the veils that get lifted from your eyes a quarter of the way through your existence, don’t even get me started on how easy it is to actually make a risotto.

I can’t tell you how many pita recipes I came across that didn’t have sugar in them.  Actually I can, because I passed kindergarten.  It was three.  Three!  Three popular bread recipes not containing sugar, spouting how healthy it is and…whatever.  It’s fucking bread people.  It has yeast, yeast needs sugar.  Put sugar in your fucking bread recipes.  And also, it’s bread.  It’s carbs.  If you’re so concerned about that I don’t know, eat a salad and be sad.  Stop fucking with bread.

I’m sorry I’m just really passionate about bread.

That being said, I dick around with recipes.  Mostly because I have a complete inability to follow even the most simple recipe.  So now I’m telling you to follow mine.  Still with me?  Coolio.

Recipe:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup water (warmed to 110°)
2 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp yeast

Proof your yeast. I always proof my yeast in a separate bowl before I add it to my flour regardless of what a recipe says. What if you screwed up the temperature and cooked your yeast, what if your yeast is old, what if you don’t know how to use a measuring spoon properly and pour half the bottle in? Then you’ve just wasted a decent amount of flour, and that’s sad and avoidable. Mix 1/4 cup of your warmed water with your honey and yeast. Gently. Yeast are sensitive creatures.

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1 minute in.

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A couple minutes in.

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As soon as I start to see my yeast buddies munching and gurgling I start prepping all my other ingredients.  Flours, oil, salt.

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And your water.  I warm all of my water to the yeast’s ideal temperature.  I figure it makes the yeast extra happy and they pay you back for it later.  I only do nice things if I get something in return, yeast are no exception.  I stir that around a couple times.

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And this is what my happy yeast friends have turned themselves into.

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Now add them to your dough.

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And mix until it pulls away from the bowl.  Oh I forgot to say we’re making this without a mixer.  Fancy!  No, I just prefer making bread by hand.

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Flour your surface.  I prefer my dough to be stickier when I start with it on the cutting board and to work more flour into it during the kneading process then to have it be good to go and worry about drying it out.  If that idea freaks you out or you read somewhere from some bread expert that that’s wrong then do 1 1/4 cup water total to the recipe.

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Pour your dough out onto floured surface.

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Knead for 5-10 minutes until it’s not a sticky mess.

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Then cover it with your mixing bowl and walk away for 20 minutes.

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Oooh, look how happy it is.

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Knead for another 5-10 minutes, this is when you want to get that elasticity.  Check for some window pane action, it’s a little harder to achieve with whole wheat based breads but as long as the bread looks like it’s trying to make one that’s fine.  Also, it’s hard to take a picture of dough window pane with one hand, so no picture for you.

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Rub down with some oil and put it in a bowl to rise, yes I put it back in my dirty mixing bowl.  I’m not a man, I don’t do dishes.  Dishes is men work.

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Cover with saran wrap AND a towel and let rest for 1 hour or until doubled in size.  I used to think it was unnecessary to use saran wrap but it really seals in moisture.  Look who doesn’t practice proper stove safety.

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1 hour.

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Punch it down.  That seems pointless.

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There we go.

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Turn dough back out onto your work surface and separate into 8 equals portions.  My dough started out at 28.2 oz, so each pita dough ball weighed about 3.5 oz.  If that is in fact what those random numbers on my recipe sheet meant.  Roll them into balls as you would bagels, tucking the sides under and in, smoothing the tops with your palms until they’re taut.

Put onto a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth.  We’re talking damp, not dripping, not random wet spots here and there, damp.  You don’t want to risk your dough drying out.

Let rest for 20 minutes.

At this point you want to start preheating your 500° oven with your cooking pan in it.  I used my cast iron pan.

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Lightly (LIGHTLY) dust your work surface with whole wheat flour and gently press your dough balls out into pita size.  1/4-1/8 thick, I didn’t bother to measure, that’s just what everyone says.

I did not roll my pitas out with a rolling pin.  I know you’re not supposed to that with pizza dough, so I figured the same reasoning applied.  It’s too violent of a process for the dough at this stage.  Remember, yeast are fickle creatures so anything that arises from their bodily functions will be much the same.

Lightly (LIGHTLY) sprinkle with whole wheat flour on top to give them that homemade rusticyness vibe thing.

Make all your pitas and let rest for 10 minutes, covered with your damp cloth.

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Place one pita dough at a time on your cast iron or whatever oven safe thing you have and bake for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool and repeat.

Okay these three pitas have information for you.

Top Left Pita: “Jenn read somewhere that you should lightly spritz your cast iron with water and close the oven door to create steam in your oven.  She did this, but failed to let the oven get back to 500°.  I was  baked at 450° and so my pocket didn’t get big, this made me sad and wish Jenn wasn’t so impatient.”

Top Right Pita: “I was one of the last pita doughs Jenn flattened but then the second one she baked, so I didn’t get to rest as long as the others, so my pocket wasn’t well formed.  This made me sad and wish Jenn would pay more attention.”

Bottom Pita:  “Jenn got her shit together with me.  I was rested for 10 minutes after my formation and baked in a 500° for 3 minutes.  My pocket was well formed and this made me happy.”

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6 happy pitas and 2 not so happy ones.  Don’t worry they found their home as a dip implement.

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5 thoughts on “Adventures in Bread Making: Whole Wheat Pitas

  1. Pingback: Saag (kind of) | Our Studio Kitchen

  2. Made these tonight. Awesome! I used all whole wheat flour that I ground in my Nutramill grain mill. The whole family loved them. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Saag (kind of) | Our Studio Kitchen

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