Sometimes we want something a bit different from the standard bread boules that we bake up using our basic bread recipe, so we go with pita breads. They are really easy, use the same dough, and bake up in just a few minutes, making them perfect for the summer when we really don’t want the oven on for several hours.
This time, however, we are going to a potluck and bringing spanikopita, so we thought that we’d also bring pita breads. Rather than full-sized pitas, though, we will make up mini-pitas. Don’t worry, you can make up either with this technique. It’s exactly the same, except for the amount of dough you measure out for each bread.
Makes 20 mini-pitas, or 10 regular pitas
- 1/2 batch basic bread dough
You can use pretty much any bread dough recipe for making pitas. We just happen to like ours a lot. You do need to make sure that it has gone through the first bulk rise, and that it is to the point at which you’d begin shaping loaves.
Measure dough. Cut off pieces of dough that are about 50 grams (100 grams for full-sized pitas) each and shape each into a ball, as though you are making a little dinner roll. When shaping, fold the cut sides in and under, to keep the gluten coat intact.
Rest. Place each ball on a floured board, cover with a towel, and let rest and relax for about 20 minutes.
Press down. Once the dough has relaxed a bit, press each dough ball down into a disk about 1/2 of an inch thick. You’re just getting a bit of shaping done; you don’t have to shape these completely at this time. That’ll come later. Cover with a towel, and let rest about an hour.
Preheat oven to 450F. Place a baking stone on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven for a good half hour. Pitas bake from the heat of the stone and not so much from the surrounding heat, so you need to get the stone nice and hot.
Roll out dough. Take each dough ball, and roll out to a thickness of less than 1/4 of an inch and about 5 inches across. It’ll try to spring back, but really try to get it thin. Pita breads puff and bake by generating steam inside the bread, so they do need to be thin to make that characteristic pocket.
Bake. Place some of the disks directly on the hot stone. Depending on the size, you might get 3-4 at a time. Close the door and watch through the oven window. After about 3-5 minutes, the pitas will puff up. Once puffed, bake for 1 minute more, then remove to a rack to cool.
That’s it! Really quick and easy to bake up, making pitas the ideal bread when you don’t want to have that oven on for hours. We find that we can do a whole batch of bread (~20 pita breads) in about 30 minutes, and they are just perfect for quick sandwiches, so during the summers we switch from boules to baking pitas. Five stars.