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Stack of Perfectly Puffed Pita Pockets

Perfectly Puffed Pita Pockets: Recipe and Guide


  • Author: foodworthfeed
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 - 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 - 8 pita pockets
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Pita bread is the perfect, soft, fluffy companion for dozens of meals and cuisines. This naturally vegan flatbread is great for dipping into hummus, adorning mezze platters, wrapping a gyro sandwich, or sopping up warm, spiced soups and stews.


Ingredients

Sponge

  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 237 milliliters (1 cup) water, warmed to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees celsius)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, (optional, but recommended)

Pita Dough

  • Sponge, matured for twenty minutes
  • 300 grams (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more, as needed to prevent sticking
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more, as needed for oiling the bowl
  • 1 Tablespoon fine, sea or kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Gather, measure and prepare the ingredients as listed. For the most consistent results, we recommend using metric weight measurements whenever possible.
  2. Make the sponge: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine all sponge ingredients. Stir to combine. Set aside to pre-ferment for 15 - 20 minutes. 
  3. Make the dough: After the sponge has matured for 15 - 20 minutes, add the remaining pita dough ingredients to the sponge in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead the dough on low-speed for 4 - 6 minutes until dough is smooth and cohesive. (See Note: a.) Dough will be tacky and should stick, slightly, to the bottom of the bowl. If overly sticky, knead in additional flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  4. Proof the dough: Turn dough out onto a clean work surface. Flour, very lightly, only if necessary. Knead by hand once or twice to shape innto a smooth round. Transfer dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap for proofing. Allow to proof in a warm space for 45 - 60 minutes or until doubled in size. 
  5. Preheat the oven: Meanwhile, arrange a rack in your oven to the lowest position. Place a baking pizza  stone or cast iron on the rack and preheat to your ovens highest temperature setting. (About 500 - 550 degrees Fahrenheit or 260 - 288 degrees celsius). Preheat the oven for, at least, one hour before baking. (See Note: b.)
  6. Punch down the dough: Once doubled, turn dough onto a clean work surface. Do not flour your work surface, hands or dough. You will need tacky dough to properly shape the dough into rounds. Punch down the dough to deflate it of any air.
  7. Portion the dough: With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into six or eight portions, as you would a pie. One section at a time, shape the dough into a round by rolling it, in your cupped hand, against your work surface. You should create a smooth, taut surface for each round of dough. Pinch the ends closed on the bottom of each round, if necessary. 
  8. Proof the dough (again): Once portioned, cover the pita dough rounds with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Proof the portioned dough an additional 15 - 25 minutes, until puffy. Halfway through your proof time, FLIP each portion of dough over. Flipping the dough helps to evenly distribute to air and prevent uneven pita pockets. 
  9. Roll the dough: Working one round at a time, gently deflate the dough with your palm. On a lightly floured work surface, to prevent sticking, roll each portion into rounds between 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch thick (about 4 millimeters is optimal). 
  10. Season the dough (optional): Brush the dough with additional olive oil, dried spices, seasonings and fresh herbs, if desired. For sandwiches and pita pockets, we recommend baking the pita plain for the best pocket results.
  11. Bake the dough: One or two at a time, transfer the rolled dough (with your hand or baker’s peel) onto your hot baking stone or cast iron. Wit the oven light turned on, watch the dough closely. Pita pockets are fully baked as soon as they have fully inflated in the oven, about 2 - 3 minutes. Once puffed, transfer the freshly-baked pita bread onto a plate or bowl and cover immediately with a clean, dry kitchen towel.
  12. Serve: Serve pita bread warm as a sandwich, side or appetizer! 

Notes

a. Alternatively, this dough can be kneaded by hand. If kneading by hand, be careful not too add too much additional flour. Dough should be tacky and stick lightly to hands. Wet hands with a little water, if necessary, to avoid sticking during the kneading process. 

b. If you do not have a baking stone or cast iron, you can make pita on a heavy-bottomed sheet pan. For sheet pan pita, we recommend reheating the oven for 3 - 5 minutes between each batch of pita to help retain the heat. 

  • Category: Bread, Appetizer, Lunch
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Greek, Israeli, Middle Eastern

Keywords: Pita Pocket, Pita Bread, Flatbread, Syrian Bread, Pita