"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philipians 3:13b,14

Friday, March 11, 2011

Make Your Own Whole Wheat Pita Bread!

Today, I tried a new recipe, for whole wheat pita bread!! I was so excited, because they turned out REALLY good!!!!

Here are the things you ned to make your own!!

  • 1 cup Whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups Bread flour (bread flour has more gluten in it than regular flour, you can buy it on the same aisle as regular flour)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • corn meal (for sprinkling)
  • 1 tsp salt

So first, stir together 2 1/2 tsp yeast (or one package), 1 tsp honey, and 1/2 cup warm water (I lamely used a mixing bowl, but you should use your kitchen aid bowl. If I could possibly ever read the directions all the way through before I start a recipe I would have done that!):

You're going to wait about 5 minutes for the yeast to foam. Meanwhile, whisk the flours together in a separate bowl- 2 cups of the bread flour, and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour:

 Now you're going to whisk 1/2 cup of the flour mixture into the yeast mixture:

 Then cover it with plastic wrap and let it set on the counter for about 45 minutes, until it about doubles in size and is all bubbly:
 Now, I had to then scrape the mixture into the bowl of my Kitchen Aid. You, being wiser and more informed than I, will already have it in that bowl. :)

Then, add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 3/4 cup warm water. Then, put in the rest of the flour mixture and turn on the mixer and knead it with the dough hook:

 Sweet action shot- the dough hook spinning! Ha ha!

Now, I kept an eye on the dough, and had to add quite a bit of extra flour, at least 1/4- 1/3 cup to make the dough pull away from the sides and climb the dough hook. So watch the dough for a bit to see if you need extra flour. (Christopher and I were doing his history reading while I measured stuff, so I may have just initially measured the flour wrong, who knows........)

After you knead the dough for about 5 minutes, put the dough into an oiled bowl (I used olive oil) and turn it once to coat. Then let it rise for about 30-40 minutes. It will double:

So, at this point, you want to heat your oven to 500 degrees. You need it HOT so that the pitas puff up to form a pocket inside. Now, I'm going to give you two tips. If there is something in your oven that you spilled earlier in the week (I am speaking in hypothetical terms here) you should wipe it up. I am just imagining that perhaps it could smoke or something, seeing as you're heating the oven up so high. Tip #2- if you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven now, and you can bake the pita breads on it. Otherwise, you can use a baking sheet (I baked two or three at a time so you don't need a huge one) or you can bake them directly on the rack (although this seemed sketchy to me...what if they fell through the rack or something? That's what the directions said though...)

So you need to set a few things up to get ready to roll out the dough. You need to get out two baking sheets and sprinkle them with cornmeal, and get a board to roll the dough on, and liberally flour it. Flour the rolling pin too.

Now, you need to divide the dough into 8 pieces. Then, what I did was sort of pat each one into a circle with my hands, like this:

Then, roll them out into like 6"-7" circles with the rolling pin. Then, you want to set them on the baking sheets with the cornmeal on them (the cornmeal is so they don't stick to the sheets. Don't be crafty like me and think, "OH, I have a great idea! I will put cornmeal on the pizza stone that I am preheating so they don't stick to that either!!"  Because then, you will smell a disgusting burning smell, and when you open the oven, you will see that the cornmeal now looks like coffee, and smells like burnt toast ) (is it "burnt" or "burned"?- either way, it smells gross!)

Then you want to cover them with a kitchen towel (or you probably could use saran wrap- just lay it on top, don't wrap it around the baking sheet) and let them sit for 30 minutes.
Ok, now you're ready to bake!! What I did the first batch was use a spatula to transfer them to the pizza stone in the oven. But I burned my knuckles (I'm telling you, 500 degrees is HOT) so after that, I put on a oven mitt and used a spatula. You want to bake them about 2 minutes on each side, using tongs to flip them after two minutes. They will likely swell up and puff out, this is good! This is what you want, to form a pocket inside. I had about half that puffed really well, and half that didn't. (which is fine with me, I already used most of them and didn't use them as pita pockets, just ate them with hummus) They will still taste AWESOME. I tried to take a photo in the oven of the pitas puffing up but it just looked like heat waves:

 So, after they come out of the oven, just put them on one of the kitchen towels. Once they're cool, you can just store them in a plastic bag.

 They make a great sandwich, or a really good addition to a salad, with some hummus:

I also think they would be excellent as a pizza crust, just throw on some sauce, cheese, and a few veggies and bake it until the cheese melts! I had a few just with hummus as a snack, they are great!

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