The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pita Pillows

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Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Pita Pillows

Another hot day in the UK today but spent the day messing about in the kitchen listening to the cricket.

After making my sister some chocolate fudge brownies.

I decided that cold BBQ chicken (marinated in orange and honey) with a fresh salad was going to be my parents tea. But what about the bread? I decided that something new for me and simple was needed, so after a lot of thought I went for pita bread. I decided to do a simple plain white pita (though I already have the next version sorted out in my mind). I used very strong white flour and plain white flour hoping for some maximum rise. Nothing to worry about, the bread exploded to pillowy heights in the hot oven. They went down a treat together with the salad and chicken. Everything worked perfectly and I couldn't be happier really. They were baked directly on my tiles in the oven too. As I said, have a superior version to test (probably tomorrow), that will hopefully give a healthier and tastier pita perfect for summer salads.

The only word of warning would be that this bread gets blisteringly hot and burnt my hand on the bread, not the oven, the actual bread. Crazy. I guess experienced bakers will be aware of this, but I was unaware how hot the pita got and how it could conduct heat.

 Enjoy your baking Andy
dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Mine always came out thicker on one side of the pillow than the other side until I learned the trick from another Fresh Lofian.  Are yours the same thickness on each side?  And wear gloves, pita burns are no fun - unless you are into those kids of things :-)

They have to taste good no matter what.  I think a little whole wheat would go well in your formula and be more healthy too.

Happy Baking

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

I rolled my dough out to about 5mm and they were very even in their thickness I have to say. They baked up absolutely wonderfully and they were thin and kept a great shape even when they had been cooled for a few hours. I guess I was lucky. I would love to do a more wholemeal version tomorrow with some herbs and with luck I will do them and do another post. As long as I am not boring everyone?

They puffed up amazingly, I think it was the very strong flour I used. 

Thanks for commenting as you always do, it is a good confidence boost when people appreciate the efforts we make.

Happy baking

Andy

evonlim's picture
evonlim

hi Andy, poofy pitas, lovely. would love to make this, can u share your formula? pls... fudgy brownie looks scrumptious!!

happy baking

evon

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Hi Evon

Thanks for your nice comment again and happy you would like to know the formula.

This makes roughly 8 Pita breads. Oven temp 250C.

300g Very strong white flour

200g Plain (AP) flour

325ml warm water

1 teaspoon (4g) dried yeast

1 teaspoon (7g) salt

1 tablespoon (15g) caster sugar 

2 tablespoon (25ml) olive oil

1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt into bowl. Add water and oil and form a soft sticky dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.

2. Remove dough onto an oiled surface and knead for 10 seconds. Place in an oiled bowl. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice more (a total of 3 short kneads over 30min).

3. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 100g pieces (should be about 8) and form into balls. Leave on the surface to rest for 15min.

4. Roll out dough into thin ovals (about 5mm thick) and leave to rest for 2 min. Place directly onto baking stone or a preheated baking tray and leave for 3-4 min until browned around the edges. Remove with tongs or oven gloves, the bread is amazingly hot. Leave to cool on a rack under a teatowel to keep moist until cool.

I used a very strong white flour to get extra strength and rise in the bread, but normal strong flour would be fine of course. I liked the fact they blew up a great deal. As I mentioned, I am going to tweak the recipe (will have a go tomorrow) to add a different flavour profile for the pita. 

Let me know how you get on, would love to see your results.

All the very best

Andy

bruneski's picture
bruneski

Sorry to barge in but, in order to get this lovely looking puffy pitas, wouldn't you need a final proofing time longer than 2 minutes after you rolled out the balls of dough into thin ovals (therefore, thouroughly degassing it)?

A long time ago, well before I started baking on a regular basis (currently 3-4 loaves a month), I also baked one very successful batch of pita bread (not as lovely as yours, for sure) but the recipe called for a final proofing lasting 30 minutes. After all, they only get all puffed up because of the heating of the CO2 trapped inside the dough, right?

Take care!

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

Hi bruneski

Thanks for your input. I was very surprised I got such spring and bounce to get these pita wonderfully pocketed. With my limited experience and knowledge I thought it was the very strong flour that helped. A little online search and the hydration of the dough (this is 65% hydration) and the heat of the oven and baking surface gets the dough to spring up.

I really did do just a 2 min final proof after very much degassing the dough by rolling it out. Maybe one or two of them were left on the surface for 5min, but not more. The rolling out was done quickly, but they were very flat of course before they went in the oven. I did 8 and only 1 didn't pillow up as much and I think it was because it was larger than the others.

i cannot really explain how I got the results I did, but I am doing it again and hope for similar results and really hope someone else gives this a try as I would like to know how they get on.

All the best

Andy

taurus430's picture
taurus430

I just made Naan yesterday and was not happy with them. Last time I made pita and they came out good, most puffed up. I'd like to try your recipe. Is this about 4 cups of flour to 11 oz of water? (I did convert but wanted to make sure).  Thanks for the recipe and nice pics. Rob

Laura T.'s picture
Laura T.

These look great. Pita does get hot! I have burnt myself on reheated store-bought ones before! Not nice when we brits are in the middle of a heat wave...

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

I was amazed they got so hot but mostly that they transferred their heat so efficiently to my hand. The heatwave right now is brutal, but it helps with proofing dough :-)

My burn blister doesn't hurt anymore, so that is good. Tomorrow morning before the heat begins I will be doing abother batch with added flavour and also a sticky ginger cake for my dad as he works nights the next few days and loves a good bake to tuck into. 

I will more than likely be leaving the UK to return to hospital in the next couple of weeks, but until then I am trying to bake up a storm.

Happy Baking

Andy

Ps. Hope we can do a challenge very soon though, I agree a theme is best and then it doesn't matter what ingriedients are particularly used so we can all participate.

Feel the Knead's picture
Feel the Knead

Are you able to share your sister's recipe?!   

Syd-a's picture
Syd-a

It was my recipe for my sister, but will post it soon.

thanks

Skibum's picture
Skibum

Thanks for sharing!!!  I just baked a half recipe and they turned out great.  I will post a photo on my blog and give you a big shout out.

Regards, Brian