No it’s not the misheard lyrics of a Katy Perry song it’s a flatbread of middle eastern origin which took over my kitchen recently.
The pitta breads you buy at the supermarket are wafer thin and often tasteless little bits of cardboard. I wanted to try pitas ever since I saw an image of them puffed up like footballs in the oven, they looked amazing and I’d never tasted fresh pitta!
The recipe below is adapted from Dan Lepard’s recipe for the Cooks Book.
A couple of caveats before you begin. You need a hot oven & a baking stone – use an oven thermometer, if your oven doesn’t get to 230 degrees Celsius then don’t attempt this recipe. You’ll need a few hours to get this started. Also I have reduced the sugar from the original recipe by 25% as we found our finished pitta too sweet.
What you’ll need:
For the biga:
1/2 packet of active dry yeast
125ml lukewarm water
100 grams strong flour (eg. tipo 00)
For the dough:
195ml lukewarm water
200g plain flour
250g strong white flour
30g castor sugar
How to do it:
- Whisk the yeast and water together then add flour and mix until smooth.
- Leave in a warm room for at least 1 1/2 hours.
For the Dough
- Mix the water with the ferment then in a large bowl mix in both flours, sugar & salt until combined and soft & sticky.
- Cover with plastic wrap & rest for 10 minutes.
- On an oiled surface knead the dough with oiled hands until smooth and silky. Use a bit more oil if necessary but don’t saturate.
- Rest for 30 minutes
- Give the dough another short knead (12 passes)
- Rest for 3o minutes
- Preheat oven & stone to 230 degrees Celsius
- Divide the dough into 8 eaqual peices, make into round balls and rest uncovered for 15 minutes
- On a floured board roll your balls until they are about 4mm thick then let them sit for about 5 minutes.
- Bake one pitta at a time in the hottest part of the oven, they take about 5 minutes and they should puff up like footballs! They do not colour a lot so if they are getting to much colour then reduce your heat by a few degrees.
- Cool your pitas under a cloth and cook your next one when the oven is the correct temperature.
Enjoy your fresh pittas with hummus or tzatziki or make your own pan roasted kebabs with Tes’s great recipe.