The Modern Baker Challenge: Breads – Pita Bread

Pita bread was the next recipe I tackled for the Modern Baker Challenge. I do have a very good pita bread recipe (which is from the BBA Challenge) that always works and results in delicious pita bread, so I was curious how this recipe would compare to my go-to recipe.

As fate would have it, the day I mixed the dough my kids were really cranky, which resulted in a very bad mood on my side, so I was not motivated at all to spend my time in front of an extremely hot oven. Thus, I stuck the mixed dough into the fridge. 2 days later, I finally had time to continue making the pita bread.

I took the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up for an hour or so. Then I shaped 16 more or less equal balls – NM says the recipe makes 12 pita breads, but with little kids in the house I prefer smaller portions. And now the trouble began – I tried rolling out the balls to form nice circles. NO WAY this was going to happen. The dough was sooo sticky that I couldn’t get it off the rolling pin anymore. Oh well, I decided to just flatten the dough balls with my fingertips and got more or less round shapes.

These, I put on baking paper that I had covered with flour (in all my  previous pita bread attempts, I used cornmeal, but somewhere I read that flour doesn’t burn as quickly as cornmeal – and believe me, I always had a lot of smoke in the kitchen when making pita bread). I could fit 4 pita breads on one piece of baking paper.

Meanwhile, I preheated the oven to 500°F, slid the baking paper onto my peel, slid the baking paper onto the hot baking stove and baked the pita breads for 4 minutes. Nearly all of them inflated really nicely, and even maintained the shape after cooling. That’s amazing because my BBA pita breads deflated while cooling. Taste wise, they were really delicious (maybe the 2-day retardation in the fridge played an important role in that). I don’t really know which recipe I prefer: the BBA pita breads are easy to shape and are really delicious, but they deflate, whereas shaping NM’s pita breads is a pain in the butt, but they don’t deflate and are really delicious, too.

I served the pita breads with homemade falafels (adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe – I didn’t fry the falafels, though, but baked them at 325°F for 20 minutes) and homemade muhammara.

4 responses to “The Modern Baker Challenge: Breads – Pita Bread

  1. I love the non-round shape. Probably because whenever I make tortillas, I can’t roll them out round, so I take what I can get.

    We usually buy pita at the local Turkish outdoor market, but can’t eat it fast enough. I usually get in trouble because of that.

    But fresh pita? They look awesome. I really do have to get hopping on the bread part of the MB challenge.

  2. Nice job. Who cares if they weren’t perfectly round? Mine weren’t either, but they still tasted great. I did away with cornmeal after the first batch; too much smoke in the house. I used the same technique you did — parchment on the stone.

  3. What’s not to love about having a few different recipes for the same thing? These look really good…love what you served them with.

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