Smarter Than Pancakes

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Whole-Wheat Pita Experiment

Filed under: Uncategorized — shaye3 @ 6:07 pm

First, let me state for the record that PITA in internet parlance has its very own meaning.   That meaning of PITA does NOT apply to pita bread.  They are actually very easy to make!

So, with that out of the way, on with the show…

Today, my part of central Indiana has yet to reach temps above zero.  Right now, it’s the warmest it’s been all day at 0;  but we still have a wind chill of  -16.  I think that would make it the perfect day to warm the oven up to 400°, and then keep opening and closing the oven door every three minutes.  Am I right?

I’ve never made pita before, but I’ve seen it done on the net.  I found several recipes that looked good, but none were whole wheat.  I took it upon myself to try to convert one to whole wheat since I’m trying really hard to avoid white flour.  (This recipe is loosely based on one I found on The Fresh Loaf.)

The original recipe said to roll them 1/4″ thick.  They were ok, but seemed too bready.  The next few, I rolled much thinner.  The last two I forgot about, and they wound up quite crispy.  Oops.

The first few I rolled kind of thick.  A few of them had the one big puff that you fill in store-bought pita.  Even the puffy ones seemed too bready.

The first few I rolled kind of thick. A few of them had the one big puff that you fill in store-bought pita. Even the puffy ones seemed too bready.

This was the first batch of thinner ones.  They turned out puffy, but not one big puff that you can fill.

This was the first batch of thinner ones. They turned out puffy, but not one big puff that you can fill.

This is how they turn out when you roll them thin, then forget to set the timer.  I wasn't too worried, they'll be perfect pita chips to use with hummous.

This is how they turn out when you roll them thin, then forget to set the timer. I wasn't too worried, they'll be perfect pita chips to use with hummous.

So here’s how it goes…

Whole-Wheat Pita Bread
Makes 8 – 4 points each

2 tsp. active dry yeast  (I buy in bulk so I just measure.  It’s a little less than a packet, if that’s what you use.)

1-1/2 c. water (Approx 110° F.)

1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1-1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tbs. vital wheat gluten (Or you could just use 3 c. bread or AP flour and skip the gluten.)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. sugar or honey (I used sugar because it s easier to measure.  Might try honey next to compare taste.)

2 Tbs. olive oil (You don’t need anything fancy like evoo, but it works fine.)

  1. Put the warm water in the bowl to your mixer, add the yeast, and stir to dissolve.  Let it sit while you measure everything else. (Use a regular bowl if you don’t have a stand mixer.)
  2. Measure the flours, gluten, salt & sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl, and stir well to combine.
  3. Add the oil to the water/yeast mixture, then add the flour mixture.
  4. Stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  (If you have flour that won’t incorporate into the dough, add a little more water.)
  5. Put the dough hook attachment onto your stand mixer, and let it go to town on the dough for about 10 minutes on low.  (If it wraps itself around the hook and makes an unmoving blob– stop the mixer, take it off the hook, and start it up again.)
  6. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead it by hand; but don’t complain to me about your arms hurting.  I’m just going to tell you to buy a stand mixer.)
  7. In the meantime, wipe the flour out of your medium sized mixing bowl and either oil it or spray it; put the dough in; then either turn the dough over in the oil or spray the top.
  8. Put a damp towel over the top of the bowl, and put in a warm place for an hour until the dough doubles.
  9. When it’s done rising, take it out and divide it into eight equal pieces.  (I just used a knife.  It cuts really easily.) Roll the eight pieces into balls, then put your damp towel over the little balls and let it rest for 20 more minutes.
  10. Preheat your oven to 400° F at some point during this process, and throw in a baking stone or an upside down baking sheet so it will be nice and warm when you get to it.  (If it’s 0° outside, like it is here, you can start the preheating process when you first get up in the morning.)
  11. Roll each piece out very thinly–maybe 1/8″ to 1/4″, depending on what you like.  (I tried both and liked thinner better with this recipe.)
  12. Throw as many pieces that will fit onto your hot stone or sheet in the oven. (I did two at a time.)
  13. Let them bake for 3 minutes, then take them out and throw more in.  (If you want them crispy–like to eat with hummous, leave them in for a few minutes more.)
  14. Take them out and enjoy.  (I’m planning hummous, falafel, and gyros–but my son tried them dipped in Cherry 7-up and said that’s good, too.)
  15. If you don’t immediately enjoy, keep them in an air-tight container.  They’ll stay fresh for a little while.

Yum!


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5 Comments »

  1. I am making this tomorrow!!! Yumm!

    Comment by lettergirl — Thursday, January 15, 2009 @ 6:40 pm | Reply

  2. Shaye,
    I think the threat of snow flurries here in Atlanta has scrambled what brain cells I have left. When I bookmarked your site, it keeps coming up to the post I commented on. Duh & an eye roll! I’ve rectified the problem, I hope. BTW: I think the lime jello/pineapple dessert ain’t all that bad. My mom (who still lives in WI)makes the same recipe every once in a while.
    We’ve had unseasonably cold weather here,with temps actually dipping into the single digits for about ten minutes or so, somewhere in the wee hours of the morning. The weatherman mentions the words “snow flurries” and the shelves are immediately emptied of bread and milk at the grocery store. Personally, I prefer to head to the liquor store for beer and wine. One of the luxuries of having your youngest children at the age of 21.(yes they are twins) Wow, this is waaay off subject. Sorry. Tonight I made a pot roast that smells absolutely delicious. My son and his g/f are coming over tomorrow for football watching and eating at Mom’s.
    The pita looks yummy and the chicken chili is going to be on the menu later this week. You are my new menu planner. Thanks. You remind me of myself when my children were young. Always trying to make yummy made from scratch meals. I had been married for 14 years when my (now ex)husband asked why I didn’t buy Campbells soup. Because I make soups from scratch dear husband, including the noodles, why??? Well, said DH, I really like Campbells, it’s what my mom always gave me. I told him that if that’s what he wanted, he should feel free to buy it the next time he was at the store. The kids and I continued to eat the homemade stuff (as he put it). The marriage only lasted another 5 years. Oh the stories I could tell.
    Back to the subject of food….I appreciate your postings and especially the info on WW points. Please keep up the good work!
    ME

    Comment by Mary Ellen — Sunday, January 18, 2009 @ 2:44 am | Reply

  3. Yum! Even the pita chip ones look delicious! i love making pita bread, don’t you? They are 1 million times better than sotore-bought ones.

    Comment by Elle — Wednesday, January 21, 2009 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  4. There is something for you on my blog. 🙂

    Comment by Elle — Wednesday, February 11, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

    • The heads up is wonderful. Thanks ever so much!

      Comment by Mary Ellen — Friday, January 29, 2010 @ 9:51 pm | Reply


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