Dan Lepard’s Perfect Plain Pita Bread

I flipped open Dan Lepard’s “Short and Sweet” book, and decided to make Perfect Plain Pita Bread. I had high hopes; I love pita bread.

pita1

Mixing, resting, and proving the dough was as easy as ABC. It’s second-nature to me now. I don’t even think about how long 10-seconds of kneading is; it’s 10-seconds. I don’t even bother setting the kitchen timer for those three 10-minute intervals. I think Dan’s made me all intuitive like or something. Or my body clock has found a new purpose and it’s started ticking again. I didn’t take any photos of the let’s-make-dough sequence. We’ve all seen dough. We’ve seen it kneaded, rising, resting and recuperating. So as rathers go, I reckoned you’d rather see a photo of a garden gnome….

  gnome_29Feb12

That’s Elmo (the Garden Gnome) by the way. You’ll see him chasing about my garden often. Occasionally he plays hide and seek.

I rolled out each 100g squidgy lump of dough to a 5mm thickness, using my two stacked £ coins as a guide. The first two pitas went into my very hot oven, that I swear had started to squeak and whine from the exertion. Three minutes wasn’t enough time; they hadn’t plumped up. Five minutes was enough though. My oven had created two ivory coloured rugby balls. American footballs even. I grabbed my tongs and gingerly squeezed the sides of the inflated bread to remove them from the oven. Wrong move. 

Do not try removing your pita breads by tonging them along the sides. They deflated, much like my high hopes and enthusiasm. I tried again by grabbing the top and bottom instead. That worked perfectly, and the pita remained inflated until it eventually went flat on the cooling rack. My enthusiasm was restored along with my appetite.

pita2

Oddly, or perhaps not since I usually have to try a recipe twice before I succeed, some of my pitas didn’t fully inflate. They’d start off with a nice big, expanding bubble at one end and that’s where it all stopped, halfway. They were fully baked though, and I was able to fork them open after they’d cooled. I just wanted them to inflate fully without being poked and prodded with a fork.

pita3

During the day I’d slow-roasted two lamb shanks with carrots, garlic and onions. When it finished cooking, I “pulled” the meat off the bone, tossing it with a bit of gravy made from the broth, and stuffed the pitas with the garlicky onion, lamb, lettuce and tomato. Then we topped it all off with some crème fraîche and excruciatingly hot Nando sauce.

So, will I make them again? Yes. In every language recognised by the human ear, I say “Yes!”

Will I ever buy store-made pitas again? Not by the hairs on your chiny-chin-chin.

Now I wonder if I should make those Double Corn Bread Muffins…

Advertisements

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    Brava! And on your first try, too!

    I so love that recipe. I make it at least every couple of weeks.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      (bowing) … Amazing, eh? These are sooooo delish! We ate 4 last night and I froze the remaining 4. The next time that I cook corned beef, I’ll thaw them out for a faux Reuben sarnie.

  2. Your pita are delightful, soft, billowing dough clouds. They’re completely unlike the pita available in most supermarkets, aren’t they? I wonder how many people think that they’re not particularly fond of pita and it’s because they’ve never had one like yours.

    I’m tickled by the notion that your internal clock has been realigned to match Dan Lepard’s micro-kneading schedule and Short & Sweet.

    I sometimes that that Short & Sweet is a benign domestic tyrant: it constantly removes items from the shopping list and add them to the baking schedule because the home-made version is so very different and superior.

    I’m not trying to egg you on but those muffins are very good – and the recipe works with dry fried/grilled mushrooms in place of bacon.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      With all honesty, I was astonished at how differently these taste from store-bought. It’s like comparing a fluffy slipper to an worn-out leather shoe. My P is one of those who’s not keen on pita. He liked these very much, and his opinion has now changed. He’s emphatic though that he’ll not eat store-bought pita.

      I might make the double corn muffins later in the week. P has 2 days of blood tests and Dr appts for his diabetes tomorrow and Friday. I want all that behind us before I start introducing bacon and such like back into his diet.

  3. Now I’m inspired to try these… maybe all pita rise inconsistently, there are some store-bought ones that I need to pry open as well?? Just wondering…

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      I have an inkling that it might have something to do with rolling out the dough as to whether they puff up like a ball or not. It is the only thing that I can think of that differs from one disk to another. The oven temperature isn’t the cause because with two pita on the same tray in the oven at the same time one will balloon and maybe the other won’t.

      I hope that you do try them, as I’d be interesting in hearing your result. 🙂

  4. great to meet Elmo 🙂
    I’ve been wanting to make my own Pitta for a while, I have a Hugh Fearnely Whiitngstall recipe that grabbed my eye, so I’ll have to look at yours/Dan’s and try both. I have great memories of fresh pitta in Greece and Turkey and them tasting fantastic, so different from most of those shop bought cardboard ones. So you’ve given me a push to get on a make some!

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Elmo’s been chasing around my garden for about 14-years. He’s claimed squatter’s rights, I think. I have Hugh’s Bread book, so I must compare the two recipes and see if they’re similar. I haven’t baked much from his book. I won it in a raffle at our local school.

  5. I have to say, this is one recipe I didn’t have a lot of luck with. I must try again, thanks for the inspiration Misk! 🙂

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you. I hope that you try again, and then write it up so I can compare results.

  6. Ray says:

    Pitta breads are something I buy every 6 months or so but find the expectation is never satisfied by the resultant meal – usually falafels and feta and salad – tasty enough but the bread is just a vehicle… and a bit bland. These home baked ones look in a different class! must give them a go. my wife Sue has Short and Sweet and raves about the cakes but i haven’t really given it much a look – may be i should….

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Hi, Ray, and welcome! You and my husband share a similar view of store-bought pita. He compared them to eating the Sunday glossy supplement of The Times. Not that he eats newspapers on a regular basis. These he liked. A lot. Words like yum, and good, and Mmmm noises were used by him to describe them.

      Give them a look Ray, and I don’t think you’ll be sorry. 🙂

  7. Will says:

    Glad to hear they worked out well! I’m gonna have a crack tomorrow I think. Thanks for the tip about where to tong ’em.

    I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

    Will
    Leavened Heaven: My Search for Sarnie Shangri-La

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Oh, yes, please – do let me know. I’m already dreaming up new combos to stuff into my next batch. I wonder if I can stuff a full English breakfast into one?!! Wayhey!

  8. Tandy says:

    I have these on my to do list!

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Brilliant, Tandy. I hope that you fall in love with them like ‘ve done. 🙂

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Thanks for the link back. 😉

  9. Joanna says:

    Great post Misk! I love your photos and your garlicky lamb stuffing sounds like sheer joy 🙂

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Thanks, Joanna. 🙂 You mentioned this recipe to me many months ago but I never got around to making them until now. I may have found a new love after tasting these!

  10. Monica says:

    Add these to my to-do list, as well. My last go at Pitta (spelt) were not great. Time to give them another go.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Absolutely do give them another go, Monica. They’re fantastic. Did you use Dan’s recipe for them? And do you mean that you made them from spelt flour, or that you were questioning the spelling of the word pita. 🙂

  11. Choclette says:

    Your pitta look beautiful and such good photos too. I made these today, in fact have just munched my way through two of them and am feeling rather full. I made mine with 200g wholemeal flour & 300g strong white and I was really impressed, although, like yours only some of them puffed up completely, others were rather one sided!!! Totally delicious though and opened up better than any I’ve ever bought.

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      I must try that flour mix next time. I like the idea of a bit of grit and grind in my bread. But as for the partial puffing, I’m at a loss for an explanation. It is interesting though that yours did the same. 🙂

  12. Thank you for lending a photograph in #shortandtweet 18: Perfect Pita, Simple Bagels & Double-Corn Bacon Muffins.

    We’re still enchanted by these pita and it’s good to see so many people take an interest in your delightful version of them (and ideas for stuffing them).

    1. Misky says:

      Once again, you’ve written up a perfectly delightful summary of our experiences last week. Great fun. Thank you!

      We made fishfinger pita-sarnies with them last night. P said they were delicious, which surprised me because he’s not keen on fishfingers. 😉

  13. Finally made my own pita breads!
    http://garlicbuddha.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/home-made-falafel-and-pita-breads.html

    Really pleased with these mini pitas. I simply used plain white flour so I will experiment with Dan’s recipe. 5 minutes in the oven and up the puffed. No going back to shop bought ones now. Sourdough pitas must be possible surely? We will see!

    1. Misky says:

      Oh, excellent, Ray! I’m on my way to see your post. 😀

Please Leave a Comment. I'd Love to Hear From You.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s