Further to the earlier posts about great pita bread at the Lebanese place Arbanus in Mercado Roma I decided to griddle rather than bake pita bread. I suspected the pita at Arbanus was griddled both because of the size and shape and because the surface was mottled – something you don’t normally get when you bake bread.
The result was brilliant! Better than we dreamed. Soft, doughy, fluffy, with a slightly charred taste that is just lovely.
Simple, delicious, griddled pita pocket bread
- 600 g white wheat or spelt flour you can use plain or strong flour here
- 360 g water
- big pinch yeast of any kind
- 10 g salt
- extra flour for dusting
- Measure the water into the bowl and add the yeast. Wait for 10 minutes to dissolve the yeast and add the flour and the water.
- Get the dough together in the bowl and then turn out on the counter and knead for 10 minutes. You can do this in a mixer for 10 minutes on the lowest speed.
- Put it back in the bowl and cover it. Let it rest for 1 hour. Stretch and fold the dough. At this point you can put the dough in the fridge if you want and carry on the next day.
- Repeat the cycle of stretch / fold / rest three more times, ending by letting the dough rest for one hour before you shape it.
- Remove the dough from the bowl on to a non floury surface and divide it into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a tight ball.
- Let the tight balls rest for 5 minutes. One by one, place the balls on a lightly floured surface, flour the top and roll them to 1/2 cm with a rolling pin. Place each disk onto a well floured surface, and cover them with a damp tea towel. Let them rest for 1 hour.
- Heat a frying pan or a griddle to a very hot temperature and then turn the heat down to medium. Grease the surface with the tiniest bit of oil. Use a paper towel to do this so you don't put in too much oil. You don't want the pitas to be greasy.
- Put as many pitas into the pan as will fit. They wont spread out, they will just sit there and begin to rise. Leave them for 3-4 minutes and then flip them again and leave them for 3-4 minutes. They will begin to puff up and then you know they are done. If they don't puff up – worry not – the pan is not hot enough but it will get there with your subsequent pitas.
- Immediately cut the pitas open with a knife or scissors being careful to angle them away from you so you don't get burned by the steam. Stack them and wrap them in a towel to keep them soft until you want to eat them.
- Stuff it with falafel balls or tuna salad or anything you want, really.
- Eat! Yum!
- If you would like more recipes like this one, All You Knead Is Bread is available on Amazon with it's new title, Making Bread At Home.
- Want to learn more? Click here to take a bread class and develop your bread making skills.
The original recipe in All You Knead Is Bread calls for whole wheat flour. In this recipe, I used white flour, less yeast and stretched and folded it several times over several hours to develop the flavour.
300 g white wheat flour (plain or strong, does not seem to matter much)
180 g water
1.5 g instant/3 g dry/6 g fresh yeast
6 g salt
extra flour for dusting
a tiny bit of high “smoke point” oil for frying
If you are using instant or fresh yeast, measure all the ingredients into a bowl and mix them into a ball. Turn the ball out onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with clingfilm, a shower hat or a tea towel. Let it rest for 1 hour.
If you are using dry yeast, measure the flour into a bowl and make a well. Measure in the yeast and pour in the water. Let it sit for 10 minutes to dissolve the yeast. Add the salt and then mix the ingredients into a ball. Turn the ball out onto the counter and knead for 10 minutes. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with clingfilm, a shower hat or a tea towel. Let it rest for 1 hour.
Turn the dough out on to the counter and give it a good knead. Put it back in the bowl for 1 hour.
Do this again.
Alternatively, you can skip these two steps and go straight to taking the dough out of the bowl and dividing it up into 8 equal pieces. Let them rest for 5 minutes and then form them into tight balls.
Let the tight balls rest for 15 mintues and then, using a rolling pin, roll them into discs about 10 cm in diameter. Place each disk onto a well floured surface, flour the tops and cover them with a tea towel. Let them rest for 1 hour.
Heat a frying pan or a griddle to a very hot temperature and grease the surface with the tiniest bit of oil. Use a paper towel to do this so you don’t put in too much oil. You don’t want the pitas to be greasy.
Put the pitas in to the pan. They wont spread out, they will just sit there and begin to rise. Flip them after a minute or so and keep flipping them every minute or so for 3-4 minutes.
They will puff up if the pan is really hot! It’s very very exciting.
Remove them from the pan when they are golden and mottled and a little bit singed and wrap them in a cloth until you are ready to use them.
At that point, cut of the top 10% and your pita will just open up! If it does not, just take a little knife and help it along.
Stuff it with felafel balls or tuna salad. Stuff it with cheese or peanut butter. It does not matter! They are so good you can just eat them as they are.