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What Are the Best Tips to Make Pita Bread?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2016
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Making light and puffy pita bread is an art. Homemade pita bread is a lot more tasty and inexpensive compared to buying it off the shelf. It's easy to create delicious pitas with pockets by following a few simple tips. Some of the best tips to make pita bread include allowing the dough to rise until it has doubled in size and rolling it out to be very thin. Cooking the bread at a very high temperature makes it puff up faster, and cooling it with the aid of moist towels helps it stay soft longer.

Many cooks use white flour in their recipes, but using whole wheat flour gives the pita a heartier flavor. A little wheat gluten should be added to the whole wheat flour to make pita bread. Some prefer to use white whole wheat flour to other brands because the pitas turn out better. Instant yeast is a better addition than active dry yeast because it is more potent. The latter needs to be activated with a little bit of water. Using olive oil in the cooking process helps to not only soften the pita but also to make it stay fresh for longer.

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Adding a little honey or sugar to the dough also helps to make pita bread taste great. The sugar gives the yeast something to go on and makes the pita brown a little bit faster. One of the fastest ways to save time and effort is to knead the dough in a bread machine. When ready, rolling the dough into a big ball and placing it in a well-oiled bowl also helps. After the dough has been rolled around a bit so that it gains a light coating of oil, it needs to be covered with a plastic wrap and allowed to rise for around one and a half hours.

It's also important to allow the dough enough time to rise until is has doubled in size. To make better overall use of time, some cooks prefer to make hummus while they are waiting for the dough to rise. When the dough has risen, it needs to be punched a little to release trapped gases and divided into little balls. At this stage, its also vital to let the dough rest for around half an hour covered with a moist kitchen towel – this makes it easy to work with. When using whole wheat flour, the resting period should be doubled.

To make pita bread, the rolled and flattened dough must be less than one eighth of an inch (about three mm) thick. Making it as thin as possible helps the pita to puff up a lot faster on high heat. Sometimes, the pitas do not puff up because the oven or baking surface isn't hot enough. Preheating the baking sheet or baking stone and setting the oven to a really high temperature makes thin, flattened pita dough puff up beautifully. Some people prefer to use the underside of an oven tray as the heating surface and place it on the lowest rack of the oven so that the tray is really close to the heat source.

One tip to get really lovely pita pockets is to cool them by placing them on a cooling rack with moist towels. A few prefer to even cover them with moist towels for a while to make pita bread stay fresh and soft for a longer time. Any excess pita pockets can be stored in the refrigerator, sealed inside airtight containers.

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