Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We're winning! Pitas

I often study at home, with my computer on beside me, blasting music. Sometimes I just happen to have my gmail account open at the same time. Incidentally, gchat is also often open (now how does that happen?).

Recently my afternoons go something like this: I'll be sitting at the table, my tax code to my left, computer to the right, big cup of glorious coffee in front of me. Brow furrowed, I try to decipher a legal text in a foreign language, as I hear a plinking noice coming from my computer. I look at my inbox and see that my sister E has sent me an instant message that reads : GOOOOOOO!!!! CALL NOW!!!!! WE'RE WINNING WE'RE WINNING! GOOOOO!

Now let me explain- E works in an office with the radio playing all day long. She has started to listen to 104.5 Chum FM, a Toronto station, while working. Now about a month ago Chum FM decided to give away free tickets to an upcoming Beyonce concert. They announce the giveaway suddenly, and the twentieth or so caller wins. Both E and I are complete suckers for contests, so I always call in, and have yet to win. I still get suckered in- I stop my studying, grab the phone, and make the phone call from Tel Aviv to Chum FM.

Needless to say, after such excitement it is always very difficult to get back to the tax code; my mind inevitabely starts to wander to other topics, such as bread baking. Yesterday my bread of choice was pitas, or pitot, as they call them here. I decided to switch it up a bit, thanks to the suggestions I found on The Fresh Loaf. I added some rolled oats, sunflower seeds, and whole wheat flour to make them interesting. Here's a copy of the recipe plus my additions. Do try the recipe out- they are easy to make and altogether delicious. I just hope I have more success with my tax exam than I do with free concert tickets!
I'm sending this one in to Yeastspotting.

Pita Bread

Makes 8 pitas

  • 3 cups flour (I used two cups regular, one cup whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 1 packet yeast (or, if from bulk, 2 teaspoons yeast)
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening
  • handful of sunflower seeds
  • handful of rolled oats

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the sunflower seeds and oats. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it'll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes.


  1. There's nothing like seeing your pitot actually balloon in the oven-- such pride from that picture! Hope they were yummo-- what did you put in them??

  2. Wow. How interesting to have add ins to a pita dough. I'll have to try these. Yours look great!

  3. I've never seen seeded pita -- what a novel and wonderful idea! I hope the exam goes (or went) well.

  4. Seeded pita sounds like a great idea - more taste and more nutrition. And I, too, have looked for distractions from the tax code!

  5. thanks for all the lovely comments!
    and nice,"Madam Chow"- baking is the best distraction! There is nothing better than forgetting all your worries through kneading. Or in this case, forgetting all those annoying statutes!

  6. the pitas look great... seems so simple but mine never puff up... will keep trying an one day post them too :-)