This is the final step to my Ultimate Pita Wrap(!) mission...Phase Three: The Pita (Phase One: The Chicken & Phase Two: The Tzatziki - click on them to view). Like, what am I gonna do with myself now......
The pitas at OPA! were my benchmark for this experiment. I started playing around with my RI Pizza Dough recipe by making it less sticky, and cutting back on the yeast. I still wanted all the air pockets in the crumb, but a heavier dough, overall.
Look at that knuckle sandwich....the dough totally had it coming!! Does anyone else punch down their dough like Mike Tyson? (Note to self: look into Henna face tattooing....)
After kneading it a few time, I pressed the dough out a bit and then rolled it up, gently pressing while doing so. Pinching the seam closed and rolling lightly into a log shape, I was ready to divide the dough out into 10 portions - roughly 2.5oz (70 grams) each.
I ditched my trusty rolling pin this time. I didn't want to flatten these guys too much. My brother worked for a restaurant that made their own burgers by hand - I used his burger shaping technique for these. (Obviously, two hands are required - I was taking pictures...needless to say, my camera/phone is covered in dough).
Alternatively, yes - you could use a rolling pin. I found my pita pimples were better on the hand-pressed pitas. Pita pimples? Ahhhhh, yes......
The little air pockets that form up when you cook the pita....I am officially (unofficially) calling those Pita Pimples from now on. Again, we aren't looking for the giant puff, bubble up that lends a pocket in the center.....maybe someday, but not today....ours are more of a flatbread.
Not too shabby, right?
makes 10, 6" pitas
2 1/3 cups bread flour (440 grams)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or, 1 envelope)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or, 1 tsp table salt)
1 1/8 - 1 1/4 cup lukewarm (90-100 degrees) water, divided **see note
a few tsp of olive oil, for greasing bowl and griddle
In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water, stir to dissolve and let bloom for 5-8 minutes.
Stir in flour and salt ** see note. When the dough starts pulling away from the bowl, turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes (if using a stand mixer, knead with dough hook attachment for about 5-7 minutes), or until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball; let rise in a large oiled bowl (I use my mixing bowl), covered tightly with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel - in a warm location - for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size** see notes.
Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes. Turn dough onto the counter and gently knead several times. Avoid using flour if possible, if necessary just a scant amount to prevent sticking. Shape into a log, pinching any seams closed.
Divide dough into 10 portions, roughly 2.5oz/70 grams each. Shape into a ball by pinching opposite ends together - both top & bottom, and left & right - several times until spherical in shape. Cover the shaped dough with a towel on the counter, let rest for 15 minutes.
Heat a large griddle over medium heat - nonstick or cast iron. Brush the heated pan LIGHTLY with oil if needed - just before adding the pita. I used a dependable non-stick pan, none was required on my part...but just in case, FYI.
Press each piece out slightly, on the counter, into a disk. Pick it up, lay it on the palms of your hands and pressing with thumbs, work the dough from the center toward the edges - turning the dough as you press. You are trying to evenly, gently press and rotate (thumbs only) the dough into a 6" wide circle.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden browned on first side & pita pimples (see post) have formed. Flip and cook other side until golden browned, about 2-3 minutes.
Keep the pitas warm by covering with a kitchen towel. Serve immediately.
Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container for several days. For long-term storage, wrap individually in plastic wrap, seal wrapped pitas in a zippy-closed freezer bag and freeze.
**Depending on your environment, additional water may be needed. Alberta is DRY, and Canadian flour has less moisture in it. I used 1 1/4, plus 1 TBS of water for my pitas. Start out with 1 1/8 water, as you mix add additional water - 2 tsp at a time - until the flour is absorbed and the dough starts pulling away from the surface in one uniform state.
**If making ahead, the dough can rise in the mixing bowl, refrigerated overnight, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. When ready to proceed, allow dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, punch down and continue.
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