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Whole Wheat Pita

gyro
Serving suggestion: a Greek Gyro

Whole Wheat Pita You can make it yourself. They may not all puff up into perfect pocket pitas, but so what?


Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups water
6 cups sifted freshly milled whole wheat flour
(for finer texture or if whole wheat flour is not fresh, swap two of these cups for unbleached white flour)
2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons sugar 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons gluten


Prepararion:

Mix thoroughly and knead well. Cover mixing bowl with a moist dishtowel and allow to rise in warm draft-free place. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Without breaking the “skin”, gently roll and stretch dough into 24 inch rope. With a knife, cut dough into 16 equal pieces without “sawing” through the rope - just cut directly down. Gently roll each piece into a smooth ball.

With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle. Set aside on a lightly floured wood table and cover with a towel. Let pitas rise about 30 minutes until slightly puffy. Place 4 wire cake racks directly on oven rack (they may overlap) and preheat oven to 500° F.

Open oven door and place 4 pitas on the rack - you don’t want the oven temperature to drop too much, so do this quickly. One of those wide pizza spatulas would make this easier - and safer!

Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until they puff up (or look like they are trying to puff) and/or the tops begin to brown. Remove from oven with long tongs or fork and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag where they can steam themselves soft or allow them to cool on a wood table covered with rather damp - but very clean - kitchen towels until soft. (The idea here is to allow the moisture to steam the edges so they won’t be brittle.) Once pitas are softened and cooled, store in a plastic bag. They are typically cut in half pockets for sandwiches or served whole as a wrap. They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or freezer for 1 or 2 months.

Avoid overworking the dough and using too much additional flour while rolling them out. Keep unrolled balls covered with damp dishtowel to prevent drying out. Handle with care while rolling and transferring. Tears or creases cause them not to puff up while baking. Watch them like a hawk to avoid over baking or they will turn crisp and brittle. A timer helps.


Notes:
Knead dough longer then you would most bread dough. We knead in a stand mixer for about 8 minutes and turn it out and knead a few times by hand and roll into a perfect ball, pinching closed any creases, folds or holes.
If a few pitas in a batch do not puff up in oven then there may be a crease, edge or hole where steam is getting out. Separate out these “non-puffers”, or “Folders,” for folded sandwiches.

If none of the pitas puff, make sure that they are rising adequately after rolling out. Allow to rise in a warm room on a wood surface, not a cold countertop. Doubling the amount of gluten can help if all else fails.


For a REALLY tasty sandwich, leave the pitas whole and brown them lightly in a mix of olive oil and coconut oil - a couple of tablespoonfuls will do. Dust pita with bit of salt, pepper and ground fennel or rosemary and brown in a non-stick pan over medium to medium high heat. Keep the browned pita warm in a stack in the oven until you are finished browning all. Fold pita around your favorite filling.

Serving suggestions:
Finely chopped romaine, spinach, feta cheese, frajita style chicken, beef with fresh cilantro and tomatoes. Top with basic Tzatziki sauce.

Try filling with scrambled eggs, feta cheese and fresh basil for breakfast, etc.

We also cut the two sides of the browned pita apart, spoon on some tomato sauce, Mozzarella cheese, basil, black olives - you get the idea - then under the broiler for a minute or two: A very thin-crust Pita Pizza!


Tags: , Greek, , , , Tzatziki,

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