Make Ahead Pita Bread

Recipe by 2Bleu
READY IN: 24mins
SERVES: 16
YIELD: 16 Pitas
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bread bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add whole wheat flour, then 1 cup white flour. Stir 100 times (one minute) in the same direction to activate the gluten in the flour. Let this sponge rest for at least 30 minutes or as long as 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add remaining white flour, one cup at a time (more if needed). When the dough is too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bread bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least double in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours.
  • Gently punch down. NOTE: If at this time you want to save the dough in the refrigerator for baking later, simply wrap it in a plastic bag that is at least three times the size of the dough, pull the bag together, and secure it just at the opening of the bag. This will give the dough a chance to expand when it is in the refrigerator (which it will do). From day to day, simply cut off the amount of dough you need and keep the rest in the refrigerator, for up 5 days. The dough will smell slightly fermented after a few days, but this simply improves the taste of the bread. Dough should be brought to room temperature before baking.
  • Place unglazed quarry tiles, or a large baking stone or two baking sheets, on a rack in the bottom third of your oven, leaving a one inch gap all around to allow air to circulate. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Divide dough in half, then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide dough into eight equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8" in diameter and about 1/4" thick. NOTE: You may wish to roll out all eight before starting to bake. Cover rolled out breads, but do not stack.
  • Bake 2 at a time (or more if your oven is larger) directly on quarry tiles or baking sheets. Bake each bread for 3-4 minutes, until the bread has gone into a full "balloon" or until it is starts to turn lightly golden, whichever happens first. NOTE: Your bread may not go into a full "balloon" but don't worry, it will still taste great. The more you bake pitas the more you will become familiar with all the little tricks and pitfalls, and your breads will more consistently balloon.
  • Remove pitas from the oven and place on a rack for for a few minutes to let cool slightly (I leave them on the rack until the next two are ready to come out of the oven), then wrap breads in a large kitchen towel (this will keep the breads soft).
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