Picture perfect Pita bread is always great to eat, but it’s utter magic to make. For real food geeks, it’s all about attaining the perfect balloon-like puff while you bake. This not only looks awesome, but ensures that your pita bread will have a perfectly formed “pocket” once it cools.
The Baking Steel can help you nail the recipe as if you had a commercial oven. The superhot surface allows the steam to rise through the pita, making it puff up. Once removed from heat, it will slowly “deflate”, but you’ll be left with that perfect gap inside, ideal for filling with sandwich fixings or scooping up hummus.
Picture Perfect Pita Bread
Recipe from Baking With Steel
Makes eight approximately 8-inch pitas
420 grams (3-1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
16 grams (1 tablespoon) fine sea salt
300 gram (1-1/4 cups) warm water (105 degrees F)
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.
Pour in the warm water. Stir briefly to combine, then knead by hand on a lightly-floured work surface for about 6-8 minutes (alternately, mix for 3-4 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment on medium speed) until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add a little more flour if it is too wet.
Transfer the mixture to an oiled bowl; cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature for 24 hours.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and divide into 8 equal portions. Form the dough into balls, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough balls into 1/4-inch thick rounds (roughly 8 inches in diameter).
Let the rounds of dough rest on a lightly floured surface for 30 minutes; they will puff up slightly.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the middle position of your oven and place the Baking Steel on top. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F for 45-60 minutes.
Using a pizza peel, launch the dough portions a few at a time onto your hot Steel; through the oven window, watch the magic of your pita puffing up. Cook on the first side about 3 minutes; flip using a spatula or tongs, and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the second side. Repeat using the remaining portions of dough. As you remove them from heat, stack them nestled in a clean kitchen towel to keep them soft (they will deflate as they cool).
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to 1 month.