The Perfect Puffed… Pita Bread

The trick to the puff in your Pita Bread is keeping your oven scorching hot , using a cast iron base to bake on. Finishing off in a cast iron pan on the stove top for a minute each side adds color and flavor at the end . Keep your oven at 230 degrees Celsius ! I found if you roll it out bigger than 20 cm and its thicker than 4 to 5 mm – you don’t always get a perfect puff! Once you are finished – store in a clean folded dishcloth inside a sealed plastic ziploc bag until you are ready to serve.

The Perfect Pita Bread

Recipe – 9 pita Bread

  • 51/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 x 10g sachet yeast ( 1 tablespoon yeast)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  1. In a mixing bowl add yeast and warm water -gradually add flour to avoid lumps and mix – leave for 20 mins for the yeast to activate, it will start to bubble.( if its a cold day – I switch on the oven until is warm, then switch it off – and leave the mixing bowl in the oven)
  2. Then Add 2 tablespoons olive oil , salt and sugar and mix
  3. Make sure you add flour to your hands so the dough does not stick to your hands
  4. Add 2 more cups of flour gradually and mix – add a further two and a half cups of flour gradually and mix . Dough should not be stick to sides of the mixing bowl – the dough should be a supple moist dough.
  5. Kneed for 6 minutes with dough hook or (10 minutes if you are kneading by hand)
  6. In a separate mixing bowl add a teaspoon of olive oil – coat dough in olive oil in the bowl.
  7. Cover bowl with tinfoil and leave for 2 hours to rise – it should double in size.( if its a cold day – I switch on the oven until is warm, then switch it off – and leave the mixing bowl in the oven)
  8. Sprinkle flour on your wooden board and place dough back on the board – pat until it down into a flat and square shape. Divide into 9 sections and separate and roll into equal sized Round balls cover with foil and leave for 30 minutes to rise again.

7. Roll out each ball with a rolling pin into a circle , approximately (20 cm in diameter and 4 – 5mm in thickness) pita bread in a circle shape. Cover with tinfoil again and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

8. Heat cast iron pot in the oven for 10 minutes – Add 2 pita ( It must be really hot) It is better to bake them in the oven at 230 degrees celcius, 2 minutes each side – the oven gives you the perfect puff – however they do not brown in the oven – I then finish them off in very hot cast iron potjie pot on the stove top to brown for one minute each side – this gives color and a delicious toasty flavor.

TIP YOUR OVEN MUST REMAIN AT 230 DEGREES CELSIUS AND THE TRAY MUST STAY VERY HOT TO GET THAT PERFECT PUFF.(CAST IRON DOES WORK BETTER THAN A BAKING TRAY IF YOU HAVE THIS OPTION) DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN ONCE THEY ARE IN – ( I USE 2 FLAT BASED POTJIE CAST IRON POTS – ONE UPSIDE DOWN IN THE OVEN AND THE OTHER ON THE STOVE TOP TO FINISH THEM OFF AND BROWN THEM. IF YOU DO NOT KEEP YOUR OVEN AT 230 DEGREES AND YOUR TRAY IS NOT HOT ENOUGH – THE PITA WILL NOT PUFF.

10. To keep soft fold into a clean dish cloth and store in a plastic bag until you are ready to serve the meal.

Serve with Baba Ganoush – or warm sliced Roast lamb with shredded lettuce , finely sliced cucumber, tomato , mint & yogurt sauce , sliced lemon and a sprinkle of pickled green chilli.

Author – Leanne Gammon

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