Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whole Wheat Pita Bread


 
I have been wanting to bake a fresh batch of pita bread for a long while now... and finally decided to tackle it, only to find it was super simple to make-- it just takes a little proof time. Pita bread is great as it is so versatile. You can pair it with soups or curries, stuff them with beans, vegetables, or a tuna salad. It can be a quick, but tasty, as well as easily portable sandwich bread , such as  pb&j, ham or turkey, or even a grilled cheese. Or what about as a mini-pizza base, taco or hot dog bun-- you decide!


Spicy Hawaiian Black Bean Burger in
a  Whole Wheat Pita Pocket









For my lunch, I turned my pita pocket into a bun for a homemade spicy black bean burger, (recipe here) but took it up a notch by making it Hawaiian style. I added a grilled pineapple slice, onions, and mushrooms with of course some extra jalapenos and a little siracha sauce-- I devoured it, it was so good.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread: yields 12 Pitas
Adapted from: Food.com


Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour + some for kneading/rolling
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs active dry yeast
    1 tsp garlic salt (optional)*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2.  Warm water in the microwave, about 45 seconds. Combine sugar and yeast to warm water, stir until well mixed. And let sit for 5-10 minutes to activate yeast. You know the yeast is active when the top has a foamy layer.
  3.  Combine salt and only 2 cups of flour at first, mix well. Then slowly add the water mixture to the dry.
  4. Gradually add in the remaining flour just until the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Once this occurs, stop adding flour ( I used the amount listed, but it is possible that you may need less or more).
  5. Knead the dough by hand for about 5-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic-- but be careful not to over-knead the dough. 
  6. Form dough into 12 balls.
  7. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-6 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. (Be sure to sprinkle a little flour on both sides to prevent sticking). 
  8. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and allow to rise 30 minutes (proof time), or until slightly raised.
  9. Just before you place the pan in the oven, flip each pita over on its other side. 
  10. Bake on the bottom in the oven for 5 minutes. (The instant hot heat will help them puff up). 
  11. When the pitas come out of the oven they will be hard, but they will soften as the cool. 
  12. To serve, cut the pitas in half and stuff with your favorite fillings or however you would like.
  13. Store in a zip-seal plastic bag and squeeze out extra air or place in an airtight container and keep in breadbox or pantry for no more than a week.
  14. Pita bread can be frozen up to 4 months, just place some plastic wrap around each individual pita and lastly cover the batch with tin foil. 
  15. Pitas can be reheated in a 350°F oven, in the microwave, or over the skillet.
* You can omit salt altogether, or just use regular. You can also add any spices, herbs, or flavors such as fresh garlic.


Pita dough after mixing and kneading.
Form dough into small balls.


Roll out about 1/4 inch thick.
Place on baking pan, let rise for 30 minutes, and flip.

Bake for 5 minutes.
Viola, now you have fresh pita bread, enjoy!

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