Put your hands in your lap, you feet flat on the floor.
You’re feeling very relaxed. Begin to count back from 100.
You’re getting sleeeeepy…Pita is easy.
Pita is naked. And unapologetic. (but not into graffiti. I was the one who defaced the Lego Career Girl).
Pita is … eating Middle Eastern street food today.
I went with posthypnotic suggestions today. No good?
I’d like to start today’s episode of The World of the Psychic by … promising not to hurl. I can’t believe I threw up on our date on Wednesday. So humiliating. Can you ever forgive me?
To make it up to you, I’d very much like to “teach” (air quotes) you how to make fresh gluten-free pita bread. But there’s a hitch.
I’m terrible with step-by-step recipe photos and other such demonstrative tutorials.
And there are plenty of reasons why I’m terrible with such tutorials. Unfortunately for you, I’m going to tell you allllllll about ’em. And you can’t even go anywhere, ’cause I’ve got you all hypnotized and stuff, that’s why.
1. It’s very, very hard for me to get past the what-do-you-need-me-for hurdle. Seriously. What do you need me for? I’m just a home cook like you are. No Le Cordon Bleu certification after my name (wait — do you get letters after your name for that? see?! I don’t even know).
Remember that game where someone tells you to say your name (“Nicole”), point to your nose (“nose”), then tell me what’s inside my empty, cupped hands (“nothing”)? Before you know it, you’ve unintentionally admitted what you suspected all along: Nicole nose nothing.
No truer words were ever spoken. I nose nothing.
2. Step-by-step photos often don’t cut it. They tend to be kinda poorly composed, and really just skim the surface of what it is that I’m really doing in the kitchen. So I fear they will give a false sense of the process. And, besides that, are you sure you want to see what I’m really doing in the kitchen? It might not just be the pita that’s nekkid. It might be me, too.
3. I forget. You know, I forget to take the photos at each step. I have a mind like a sieve.
4. My blog design needs some work. My photos are too big. If I did step by step photos, I’m afraid that you’d be afraid. I picture Jurassic Park. I have, indeed, spared many an expense, and I fear that my step by step photos might just visit you in your dreams.
5. It has come to my attention that I have an inferiority complex. It seems that I’m afraid that you’re coming here from, say, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and that my step-by-steps will disappoint you. Kindly see reason #1 above. I nose nothing.
All that being said, it also appears that no one else is stepping up to the plate, and I so want you to be able to make fabulous pita any darn night of the week. There’s already this post on this here blog. It has a recipe for pita bread. But it predates printable recipes on this site by, like, a minute and a half, but I’ve been otherwise occupied and unable (okay, fine, too lazy) to go back and repopulate that post with a printable recipe (even though I think the print button isn’t working properly and I’m on it I swear). And it doesn’t show you the pitas when they’re nekkid. Rather than just reworking that post, I thought nekkid pitas deserved their own post so you can see that this really is very, very accessible.
I may not be your go-to resource for step-by-step photo tutorials, but I can still show you some nekkid pitas before they’re baked, so you can see for yourself what they look like before and after. Think of it like one of those makeover shows. Except with food. And the “before” is naked, so we don’t have to ceremoniously throw away all of its clothes and use the process as an excuse to mock it as it looks at itself in a three-way mirror under fluorescent lighting.
So this time I made some mini pitas. I suggest starting with mini ones, then shaping and baking them in batches. Why? ‘Cause, that way, you can collapse your own learning curve into one batch, that’s why. Why bake off a whole recipe’s worth of failed pitas, and then find yourself saying, oh, I would try to make pita bread again, but I have to wash my hair?
You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down? Smellin’ what I’m cookin’?
So please refer to the hunk of pita dough in the photo above. It’s fluffy. And then please refer to the shaped, naked rounds of raw pita dough, stacked up next to a defaced Lego career girl. See how they’re far from perfect, but they still made their mama real proud. And realize that, if you have to choose between making them too thick and too thin, choose too thick. That way, you can always split them with a knife if they don’t pop completely. If they’re too thin, and don’t pop, you’re going to kill yourself trying to split them. Trust me. And by ‘trust me’ I mean I’ve killed myself trying to split ones that didn’t pop ’cause I made them too thin. It’s nothing short of a miracle I’m even here to hypnotize you.
And I also speak from personal experience when I tell you that … this dough works just like pizza dough. You can (and should, if you like) make it at the beginning of the week, shape it, stack it up with alternating pieces of wax paper, put it in a plastic bag and pop it in the fridge. Then, plan a meal around pita one night that week. When you get home that night from work, turn on the oven first thing. When you’re almost ready to serve dinner, pop the pitas in the oven. Serve warm.
Once again, from my insane mind to your computer, and hopefully to your kitchen, followed closely by your belly, I give you ….
|Shameless Pita Bares All|
- 3 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, divided (I use Better Batter)
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if using Better Batter)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons instant yeast (if you have it – if not, active dry is fine)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons canola (or vegetable) oil, plus more
- 2 1/2 cups warm milk, about 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (low-fat is fine, non-fat is not) (nondairy is fine provided it has some fat)
- You’ll need a pizza crisper, or some other pan to put in your oven that has enough holes to allow air to circulate on both sides of the pita. As long as you have the crust on top and the crust on the bottom of the pita, you can split it open and make a pocket. That’s your fail-safe.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place 3 cups of flour and the xanthan gum, along with the salt, and mix to combine well. Add the yeast and sugar, then the oil, mixing well to combine after each addition.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the milk in a slow pour. The dough should begin to come together. Continue adding the milk until it’s all in there.
- Add enough additional flour so that the dough is thick and kinda creamy looking – not dry, and not really sticky, but tacky so if you touch it some of it sticks to your finger. You can always add more flour. As a guide, I almost always have to add at least 1/2 cup more flour.
- Dump the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn it over a few times to coat with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in a warm, humid place for about an hour, or until nearly doubled in size. It will look dimply, and will be a bit tough to handle.
- Once the dough has risen, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (if you have a silicone mat, this would be a great time to break it out). Divide the dough into 12 to 15 pieces.
- For each piece of dough, roll it into a ball and press it together, squeezing out the air. Then, with the heel of your hand, press it into a disk. Press from the inside out, taking care not to make it too thin (especially at the endges). Sprinkle flour lightly on any sticky spots. Rotate the round of dough on the floured surface, and flip it frequently. If you have added too much flour at any point, drizzle in some canola (or vegetable) oil. And don’t be afraid to oil up a piece of dough and start again. It’s more forgiving than you think. They should be about 1 1/2 times the thickness of a pancake.
- Place only as many pita-to-be rounds on your pizza crisper (or pizza screen) as can fit without touching. Stepping lively, place the crisper in the preheated oven and shut the door right quick. Bake for between 5 and 8 minutes, taking care not to allow the pita to burn. It will be darker on the underside than on the top.
These directions assume a stand mixer. If you do not have one do not despair. Use a large bowl and a spoon, and just do your best stand mixer impression. You can also use a food processor.
For the love of Mike, please don’t use Pamela’s mixes (bread mix or baking mix). They are not designed to be all-purpose flours. They are multi-ingredient mixes.
If you use bean flour, you’re (sadly) on your own. I can’t work with that stuff.