Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Seriously Delicious Sourdough Pita

Sourdough starter - Day 9
Who doesn't love a good flatbread?  The Italians serve focaccia; naan bread is enjoyed with a good Indian takeaway; Arabic bread is available daily in every Middle Eastern grocery store; and warm pita bread can be found on virtually every Greek restaurant menu.

Pita and hummus are especially a favourite in our family; I prefer a pita stuffed with hummus and veggies over a luncheon meat sandwich any day.  I am also partial to my Asian Beef & Veggie Meatballs with a bit of crunchy lettuce & daikon fermented pickle laced with a slather of sriracha mayo - all rolled up in a pita for a flatbread Bahn Mi-type sandwich.  Nom, nom!

My sourdough pita dough ready to be covered
 and set aside for proofing.

Since starting my sourdough adventure, I have been faithfully feeding my sourdough starter pet beastie each day.  On day nine of beastie's life it was bubbling and boozy, so I thought it was okay to use the discarded portion of my sourdough after the feed.

This week, I made pita bread as we are clean out of bread and we need something for lunch tomorrow. Mixing up pita dough is pretty easy.  This recipe takes about 10 minutes to mix up including kneading time.  After proofing for a couple of hours to a day, give yourself another 10 minutes to shape into disks and then while the dough is resting, heat your oven or barbecue.

Cooking the pita on the barbecue cast iron griddle or pizza stone was my first choice since my oven heats our kitchen up to boiling; but a cast iron skillet on the stove top or a pizza stone in a super hot oven also will also get the job done.  I think I like the pizza stone, inside or out, the best but the griddle will work too.

I used unbleached all-purpose flour and feel free to use half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour if you are aiming for more fibre.  My first batch of pitas were whole wheat.  They puffed up really nicely on the barbecue but got gobbled up before I could take a picture!

The pitas will keep in the freezer for a month or two and are good stored on the counter top for a couple of days. I prefer to make this recipe in small batches and eat them up fresh and I doubt they will last long after you plate them hot out of the oven or off the barbecue!

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsps. filtered water

In a medium sized bowl, mix the sourdough starter, coconut oil, and sea salt.  Add flour and water; using one hand, mix to combine.  Turn the dough out on counter; knead for five minutes.  The dough should be stiff and shouldn't need any additional flour to prevent sticking.  Don't skip the kneading step as the texture of the dough will change and become more elastic within this five minute knead.

Shape, place in greased bowl, and slash with serrated knife for expansion; cover with plastic wrap in a warm draft-free spot to proof until doubled - a couple of hours should be enough but you can mix it up in the morning and leave for the day if you need more time.

When dough has risen, divide into 8 balls and roll out very thinly into 15 cm disks.  Let rest for 15 minutes and then cook on a hot pizza stone at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit or 250 Celsius ~ or on a smoking hot cast iron griddle.  With the griddle, I usually cook on one side until the pita puffs up and then flip it and brown lightly on the other side.  You have to eyeball the cooking time folks...you will know when they are done.

Store in the freezer for a month or on the counter for about three days.  Makes about 8 pitas.

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