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4 hours 40 minutes active
Pita bread is a yeast-leavened flatbread from the Mediterranean and Middle East. We make ours with whole-wheat flour and whole-milk yogurt for full flavor and a pleasant chew. Yogurt is common in some flatbreads but is generally not used in pita. We, however, found it helped produce a soft, elastic dough and a tender, but slightly chewy baked bread. To ensure the breads puff nicely and form pockets, they're baked two at a time on a heated baking steel or stone. We preferred a stand mixer for making the dough, but a food processor worked, too. To make the dough in a processor, combine the flours, yeast and sugar in the workbowl and pulse until combined. Add the water, yogurt and 2 tablespoons of oil and process until a smooth, slightly sticky ball forms, about 1 minute. Add additional water, 1½ teaspoons at a time (up to 2 tablespoons total), if the dough feels too dry. Let the dough rest in the processor for 5 minutes, then add the salt and process until smooth and pliable, about 1 minute. Knead by hand on a lightly floured counter for 1 minute, then transfer to an oiled medium bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until not quite doubled in bulk. Continue with the recipe from the third step to shape and bake. It's not unusual if one or two of the rounds don't puff during baking—the bread will still taste great. The ones that do puff will not deflate as they cool. Store leftover pita in a zip-close bag for up to a day. To warm, wrap the pitas in foil and heat for 4 minutes at 300°F.
tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
grams (1¼ cups) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
01Coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add both flours, the yeast and sugar. Mix on low until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the water, yogurt and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Mix on low until a smooth ball forms, about 3 minutes. Feel the dough; it should be slightly sticky. If not, add water 1½ teaspoons at a time (no more than 2 tablespoons total), mixing after each addition, until slightly sticky. Let rest in the mixer bowl for 5 minutes.
I just made these. I thought the amount of salt sounded excessive, so I reduced it to 1 1/2 tsp. It’s plenty in my opinion. I only have Red Star active dry on hand. I softened it for a few minutes. Worked just fine. Finally, I made a mistake by skipping the second rise. They baked perfectly. Will definitely make again.
I made this today. Its very good. The dough puffed up. I have tested it both with waiting for 10 min and without and both ways they have puffed up. It is not salty as other reviews have pointed out. It states sea salt so its not the same as regular salt so maybe that is the problem with saltiness. I have used Morton Sea Salt Course type. Also, I did not have bread flour so I used all purpose but I have added 1 tsp of baking soda. I let my dough rise for 2 and half hours. I cooked it on the BBQ on the stone at 500 degrees. I have waited for 30 min until I started cooking on the stone. Great recipe and I will make it again.
Hi Marsha -
You can do this by hand, it just might require a little elbow grease. After adding the yogurt to the bowl in Step 1 mix the dough together using a spatula and then by hand until the dough forms a pretty loose sticky ball. Let the dough rest then mix in the salt. This is the only part that could be tricky since it can be a bit challenging to mix the salt into a formed dough without the help of a stand mixer. If you've left the dough a bit loose in the previous step it will be easier to incorporate the salt by hand. Sprinkle the salt onto the dough and then knead in the bowl to incorporate. Once the salt is incorporated, transfer the dough to a lightly floured countertop and knead until the dough springs back when poked with a finger. This will likely take longer by hand than the 10 minutes called for in the recipe. Make sure you don't use too much flour on the counter or the dough will become dry. A bench scraper can be helpful for kneading a sticky dough by scraping the dough off the counter and folding it over itself. Good luck!
The Milk Street Team
Hi Lee -
We haven't tested this with buttermilk so I can't give you a definitive answer. I would recommend low-fat yogurt over buttermilk since the texture is more similar to the whole milk yogurt. Due to the lower amount of fat, however, you may find the pita less rich and drier.
The Milk Street Team
Hi Gary -
We haven't tested baking these in any other way than on a baking steel or stone. My only suggestion would be to preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven and bake one pita at a time on the skillet. That *may* replicate the same heat as the steel/stone to trigger the puff. Let us know if you try this and the results!
The Milk Street Team
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