Have you ever watched grass grow? Watching pitas rise in the oven is nothing like that.
It's totally fascinating. No word of a lie- I sat and watched every one of these babies rise in the oven. They didn't look like they were going to work. Bulbus bubbles appear on the surface, and all of a sudden when you least expect it they combine into a giant air pocket and VOILA! A lovely puffy pita. Perfect if you have an overabundance of tabouli that you made with the massive amounts of kale you have kicking around.
Here are some awful low quality photos I shot while I sat infront of the oven with my nose pressed up against the glass. Not good- but you can get the idea! I wish I had taken a video or the process.
Recipe: Semi-Whole Wheat Pitas
Makes 8 ~7 inch pitas Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1 1/4 cups warm water
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if mixing by hand), combine the flours and salt. Combine the yeast with the warm water and honey- let sit for 5 minutes or until bloomed (aka looks frothy).
Stand Mixer: Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix in the olive oil using the paddle attachment. Switch to the dough hook and knead for ~5 minutes (the dough should stick slightly to the bottom but clear the sides of the bowl).
- OR By Hand: Mix in the yeast into the flour mixture with a large mixing spoon. Add the olive oil and mix until you cant anymore- then switch to your hands (the best part)! Knead the dough for ~ 10 minutes.
You may need to add more flour or water depending on the texture of the dough. It should be moist but not extremely sticky- you can also add olive oil to your hands so the dough doesn't stick.
Form the dough into a ball and coat lightly with olive oil (I put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a bowl and roll the dough in it). Place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. You could alternatively let these rise overnight for better flavour.
Oven Cooking Method: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a baking stone on the lower rack.
When the dough has risen, empty it onto a lightly floured work surface and divide the dough into 8 equal balls. Flatten the dough one ball at a time and stretch it out until it forms a circle (~7inches). Transfer to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or flour. When all the dough is flattened into circles, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for ~20 minutes until they have puffed slightly.
Before baking, spritz the flattened balls with water and bake on the pizza stone for ~3 minutes, remove and transfer to a cooling rack with tongs.
- OR Cast iron pan: Heat a cast-iron pan on the stovetop at medium-high heat. (Make sure you spritz the pitas lightly with water similar to the oven method) Lightly grease the pan and cook pitas one at a time turning after 20 seconds and then cook for ~ 1 minute until you see bubbles. Turn again and cook until the pita swells like a balloon. Play with the heat if it gets too brown (should take ~ 3 minutes).
** I have not tried the cast-iron pan method! But the oven one works perfectly!