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I am working mom who loves to cook and bake. I hope to keep track of recipes and share some of my better ones. In the process, hopefully my photography and cooking will get better and better!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whole Wheat Pita bread

There's nothing better that homemade bread.  Except, maybe, homemade ice cream.  But this goes better with hummus!  I have been on a kick lately of prepped veggies in the fridge at all times, to encourage healthy snacking.  The pita is a great accompaniment to pretty much anything, from dips, to grilled chicken, to salad- it's very versatile.

Whole Wheat Pita
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally Gourmet 2003

2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set aside until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap or towel and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed (my mixer the dough hook should never go above speed 2) until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.  If you are short on time, you can go straight to the shaping rounds stage and skip this rise without discernible difference.

Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking stone in the oven (I highly recommend if you can) and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface or wax paper without flour, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a roughly 7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy. (or 1 hour, if you skipped rise #2).

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Eat the same day or freeze for another day.

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