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mfiore 12-06-2009 09:30 AM

Pita Bread
I recall seeing a post about pita bread with a link to a video demonstration quite some time ago, but can no longer find it.

Can anyone comment on making Pita bread? I have Lebanese friends that I'd love to impress.

Jed 12-06-2009 09:46 AM

Re: Pita Bread
Hi Mike,

I've had good success making pita's in the WFO.

I've read specific pita recipes, but will use any left over pizza dough, or any bread dough - a hotish oven (600+?) and keep a close eye on the cooking.


mfiore 12-06-2009 01:04 PM

Re: Pita Bread
Do you roll them thin, or just make flat pizza rounds (without toppings). Do they puff up and make a pocket using the pizza dough?

Fish Wheels 12-06-2009 01:19 PM

Re: Pita Bread
Are these the links Mike?
YouTube - Pita Bread Baking in Wood-Fired Oven


ttriche 12-06-2009 02:49 PM

Re: Pita Bread

Originally Posted by mfiore (Post 73881)
Do you roll them thin, or just make flat pizza rounds (without toppings).

Either one works. Pita bread is fantastically easy to make in a WFO and it almost invariably blows people away. The real thing tastes nothing like the dense, crappy stuff you get in a plastic bag.


Do they puff up and make a pocket using the pizza dough?
Yes. As long as your dough is adequately hydrated, your oven hot enough (as previously noted, 600-700 degrees is not too hot) and you roll or pat the rounds out to about 1/8" thickness, they will puff up like balloons within a minute or two, three minutes absolute maximum. The trick is to get them out after they have ballooned and 'set up' but before the top or bottom starts to char and they get too crisp.

Have a breadbasket with a clean, dry towel ready for unloading the pita bread. The towel will help redistribute the moisture and keep the bread soft longer than if you just left it open to the air. Try to ensure that your guests can eat the pita bread almost immediately after it comes out of the oven (certainly not more than a few minutes).

There was an Afghan place in northern Virginia that my coworkers and I used to like for lunch; the guy built a tandoor in his strip-mall space and would slap the rounds in, by hand, then walk over to the stews, dumplings, pilafs, etc. and ladle out your selections. Then he'd put the plate down, reach in, and grab the now-finished pitas, and then he'd ring you up at the counter. Great place.

While I don't know if anything I bake will ever approach that level of mastery, it's equally unlikely that anything you or your guests have ever had from a store will come close to freshly baked pitas from your oven.

Do a test run before your guests arrive to get the timing right. Use enough extra flour to ensure that the rounds won't stick to your peel. After you have the timing wired, everything else is trivially easy, and tastes great. You will be astonished at how fast the pitas disappear.

dmun 12-06-2009 03:35 PM

Re: Pita Bread
I found that I got better results with a rolling pin. The hand stretched ones don't reliably blow up for me, but if they are rolled out I get baloons every time. It's into the really hot oven until they just baloon, flip them over for 10 or 20 seconds, and out. Don't try to brown them: they should be soft and tender. You have to brush really well because pitas seem to pick up more floor crud than pizzas.

I use a 50-50 whole wheat/AP dough. 250 grams of flour (1 yeast 5 salt 155 water) yields four turning peel sized pitas. As ttriche says, they make a real show.

mfiore 12-19-2009 05:59 AM

Re: Pita Bread

Am I looking at your formula correctly? This looks like about 124% hydration.

dmun 12-19-2009 02:54 PM

Re: Pita Bread
Thanks, Mike, that's the amount of water for 500. I edited it.

mfiore 12-19-2009 07:08 PM

Re: Pita Bread
That's what I had assumed.

I gave this a try tonight with dmun's formula with 50/50 AP flour, whole weat. I didn't plan ahead and do an overnight cold retard in the fridge like I often do with pizza. Just mixed up the dough, a few hour rise, shaped into 165 gram balls, rest about an hour. Then rolled (yep, I brought our a rolling pin!) quite thin. They dough rolled very easily, but sprung back to a smaller (subsequently thicker) shape when I transferred to the peel.

It still turned out fabulous. I slid them in a very hot oven (about 900 F). They ballooned up perfectly with a little char. As soon as they were ballooned, I flipped them, let them sit another 10 secs, then pulled them out. The entire process was less than one minute. As others have mentioned, the visual effects are a real crowd pleaser. The taste was better than any I've had before. I can see myself making these VERY often.

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