Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Pita Update


A Pile Of Freshly Baked Pitas

So where is the recipe already? Is this yet another stalling tactic? Well, yes. It seems that what started out as just a colorful photo taken and posted on a whim (along with the promise of a recipe) has turned into quite The Pita Project. First, of course, I was waylaid over the weekend by all those ripe tomatoes. Then I ended up making four batches of pita bread in the last two days. I learned a lot and even took some helpful photos. I also became just a teensy bit frustrated, but I'll save those thrilling details for the actual post (yes, there is going to be one). In the meantime, I'm seriously considering changing the title from Pita, Pita, I Too Much Eata (even though that is more true now than ever) to one of these:
1. Pita, Pita, What A Stupid Idea
2. Pita, Pita, Why Won't You Just Puff Already?
Or there's the short and to the point:
3. Oh, Stuff It
Though I think I may end up going with the one suggested by my very understanding pal, Clare, at Eat Stuff in Australia:
4. What On Earth Made Me Tell You I Would Post About Pitas?
But, dear fellow bread lovers, do not despair. I will be posting not only the pita recipe and step-by-step photos, but also a surprise bonus recipe that is incredibly easy and instantly addicting. So when will all of this actually appear? Oh, I'm sure you know the answer to that by now. Soon!

20 comments:

  1. *sigh*
    *rests chin in hands*

    Okay, we will just wait...

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  2. Well, it sure *looks* like pita! Zowie.
    (PS: Welcome to word verification. I held out as long as I could, too. Hey, look on the bright side: the world has found us!)

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  3. I have been wanting to make my own pitas forever--I'm anxiously awaiting the post!

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  4. LOL!!!!! hehehheeh

    Sorry can't stop laughing!!!

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  5. My own experience is that the stone in the oven needs to sit at the bottom and be VERY very hot when the raw pita is thrown onto it. Also that the ones that did not really come out were really yummy brushed with olive oil and sea salt, tossed back in the oven and made into crackers!

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  6. Hi Cherrybegonia,
    Patience is a virtue!

    Hi Cookiecrumb,
    Whaddya know? A bright side to spam! : )

    Hi Amy,
    Oh, the pressure just keeps mounting!

    Hi Clare,
    Thought you'd like this one. . .

    Hi Shuna,
    Thanks so much for your comments. Two things: First, that's what is so different about this recipe of Bernard Clayton's that I've been using to death--he says that the pitas actually puff because of steam (not yeast) and that "placing the rounds on the foil rather than on a baking sheet or stone allows a softer heat to surround the dough. A direct thrust of heat from a baking sheet would form a crust difficult to puff." They are baked at 500 degrees, and I know that you do need the oven really, really hot. Nevertheless, yesterday I went ahead and heated up my baking stone to see if it made a difference--nope. Who knows. Pitas seem to be no different than any other breads--everybody has their own recipe and technique and nobody's guarantees perfection. But that's what's so fun about it, I suppose.

    And secondly, well, so much for my surprise bonus "failure to fabulous" recipe! (Don't you just have the best taste.) I knew it wasn't incredibly original, but at least mine's a little more detailed. And it was tested over and over on a live, willing human. (Sanity is questionable.) Pita, pita, I too much eata! : )

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  7. Too funny! I can't wait as I have wanted to make pitas for a long time!

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  8. Strange about Clayton saying the foil is necessary. Granted, I haven't made pita. But I have made naan and they invariably puff up - laid directly on the preheated stone - on the second to bottom shelf of my electric oven. I used to use the bottom shelf but we were having problems with bread getting burned on the bottom.

    The naan also puff up when they are baked on the gas barbecue - laid directly on the grill - no foil.

    And chapati made on the stove top (no yeast at all) always puff too. Now THAT is very cool to hold (with tongs) the partially cooked chapati directly over a bare burner and watch it puff up.

    I wonder if one must make sure the dough isn't too dry to ensure that the pita puff?

    -Elizabeth

    P.S. Now you've got me curious and I will HAVE to try making pita bread! (and English muffins too, I suppose... thank you very much, cherrybegonia...) Good thing we have a cold front coming through and it won't be quite so hot.

    P.P.S. If this posts successfully, it means that I guessed right about whether it was a "q" or a "g" in the verifying word.

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  9. Hi Joe,
    Well, as long as people are smiling and laughing. . . : )

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Who knows. It's not as if I couldn't get any of them to puff correctly--just not all of them. I haven't made naan; does it need to completely puff up or just make big "bubbles?" Because all the pitas at least do that.

    I might try one more test batch with and without the baking stone. Maybe. ('Cause I have nothing else to do, LOL.) This kind of thing just starts to bug the heck out of me.

    As far as the dough being too dry--that, according to Clayton, is definitely a concern. You need as soft a dough as possible. Mine was bordering on sticky, so that shouldn't have been a problem.

    I think, as I said earlier, it's just like every other kind of bread--very touchy and affected by everything from the slightest change in thickness to a drop in humidity. We'll see.

    At least we're all having fun. And when somebody does figure out the absolutely fool-proof way to make pitas, I sure hope they'll tell! : )

    P.S. Congratulations on passing the word verification! : )

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  10. I just stopped by and I can't wait too!! YUMMMMY... I will have to keep checking on this!

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  11. Granted, naan doesn't HAVE to puff up. It's just a bonus if it does. And it generally does in one big poof. But chapati really should puff up like pita bread. When they're done, they basically look just like pita.

    Just in case you'd like to try making chapatis in your spare time ;^)

    http://etherwork.net/recipes/flatbread.html

    -Elizabeth

    P.S. added pressure... I'd love to see your pita recipe!

    P.P.S. Now, is that an "L" or an "I"?? Just kidding - the word verification is dead easy to use. Isn't it nice to be free of the junk. (Oh wait!! You're still seeing my comments. :^D)

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  12. Hi Chloe,
    Welcome to the farm! And congratulations on your newborn baby blog.

    Oh, the pressure for a perfect pita. . .

    Hi Elizabeth,
    Thanks for the link. Just this morning I was reading the chapati recipe in Bread Alone by Daniel Leader (my favorite bread book). But I must stick to my pita goal first.

    Actually, I think I'm going to post a nice, easy soup recipe. : )

    P.S. Don't worry--I'll share the pita recipe. It just won't come with any guarantees regarding puffing perfectly! This really is getting kind of ridiculous. Back to the kitchen then. . .

    Ooooh! A super easy word verification. Thank goodness. I'm under enough pressure with the pitas. : )

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  13. eagerly awaiting your pita post. i too tried to make it once and, no thrice, i'll admit it, with nary a victory. hockey pucks. play doh. burnt cardboard. who would've thought flour and water could take so many, NON PITA forms?

    on a related note, i'm embarking tonight on my third attempt at a homemade sourdough starter. hopefully this one won't require a subsequent visit by the plumber....

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  14. Oh, I've always wanted to make my own 'pocket bread'! I'm willing to wait.

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  15. Hi Rae,
    Oh my. Such pita problems. I feel a lot better now. Hmmmm. Sourdough starter requiring a plumber's visit? Things sure are exciting in your kitchen! (Yes, definitely feeling much, much better.) : )

    Hi Karen,
    Welcome to the farm! Thanks for taking the time to write--and for your pita patience. Do check back. I'm working on it. Really. Actually, I need to do some sampling right now. . . : )

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  16. I make pitas every week (no foil involved) and I must say that the main secrets to getting them to puff properly were (a) having an oven with both a light and a window so that I could take them out at the exact right time, and (b) practice. I'm not actually sure what I'm doing differently now than I was at the start -- rolling more evenly, probably, and having a better knack for transferring the raw dough from counter to makeshift peel to oven stone without pulling and stretching it in the process -- but whatever it is, now it works every time, and before, well, it really didn't.

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  17. Hi Redfox,
    Welcome to the farm! Well, at least somebody has figured out how to make all their pitas puff! Thanks for taking the time to write. : )

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  18. I've used the recipe from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book (even all-American cookbooks go global, I guess) for pita, and it worked great using Marion's instructions. Now go make some hummus!

    David

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  19. I'm a little late getting in on this, just found you through earthhomegarden's blog. But you've inspired me to go look for my pita recipe I worked out some years ago and post it on my blog. See you soon.

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  20. From France, I try to make my own pita too ! What a fun !

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January 2013 update: I know word verification is a big pain, but it's the only way I can stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I get every day. I don't want to require commenters to be registered Blogger or Open ID users because I know many of you aren't. Thanks so much for your understanding!

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