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Soaked Pita Bread Recipe

on February 27 | in Recipes | by | with 19 Comments

Have you ever loved an obscure band and then run into a total stranger that loves them, too? And you’re like “No way! I didn’t know anyone from insert random distant point on the map had ever heard of them!” And then you’re friends for life?

A local greek restaurant has been my “obscure band obsession” for the past few years. It was the beginning (but not the foundation) of one of my most meaningful friendships. Although she had been my chiropractor for awhile, Dr. Cindy and I really bonded when she asked me to lunch at my favorite restaurant. She was pregnant and I was nursing Katie. We nibbled on completely consumed pita bread with hummus, savored the souvlaki lamb (um, yes we both ordered the same dish) and talked.

Greek food is good for the soul.

Greek food is also easy to make at home! Homemade versions are healthier and cheaper, too. Big selling point in the Dessinger household.

This recipe for soaked pita bread was adapted from a recipe I found at The Fresh Loaf. If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of soaking grains, here’s a quote from Sally Fallon’s VERY helpful cookbook, Nourishing Traditions:

All grains contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss . . . Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. (p. 452)

For a more in-depth explanation I highly recommend this post from The Nourishing Gourmet.

No more explanations . . . here’s the recipe!

The night before you want to serve this light, airy bread, mix the following together:

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. The night before you want to serve this light, airy bread, mix the above ingredients together.
  2. Leave covered on the counter for 12-24 hours.
  3. After the flour has soaked add: 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 packet of yeast (2 tsp).
  4. Follow the instructions as given on the The Fresh Loaf (see below).

CUISINE: Mediterranean
COURSE: Bread
SKILL LEVEL: Beginner

All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water (I had to add an extra 1/4 cup).

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes (or until your hands get tired). If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.

(The purpose of kneading is to thoroughly combine the ingredients and to break down the flour so that the dough will become stretchy and elastic and rise well in the oven. A simple hand kneading technique is to firmly press down on the dough with the palm of your hand, fold the dough in half toward you like you are closing an envelope, rotate the dough 90 degrees and then repeat these steps, but whatever technique you are comfortable using should work.)

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. I use canola spray oil, but you can also just pour a teaspoon of oil into the bowl and rub it around with your fingers. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

If you have a spray bottle in the kitchen, spray a light mist of water onto your baking surface and close the oven for 30 seconds. Supposedly this step reduces the blistering on the outside of your pitas. I’ve skipped it many times in the past and still been pleased with my breads, so if you don’t have a bottle handy it isn’t a big deal.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.

Dip in some hummus or make a falafel pita sandwich with yogurt sauce. Enjoy!

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19 Responses to Soaked Pita Bread Recipe

  1. Frank Fleads says:

    What is the name of the greek restaurant? We haven’t been able to find many good ones since moving to D/FW. Thanks!

  2. [...] making the hummus and falafel from scratch this week using Sally Fallon’s recipes. The pita bread is a soaked grain recipe I adapted recipe from The Fresh Loaf. I use yogurt made from goat’s [...]

  3. Angie says:

    I have always wanted to learn how to sprout wheat flour and I didn’t think it would be that easy! I just made pita’s yesterday but I think I will try your way next time! Thanks for the recipe!
    .-= Angie´s last blog ..Veggie Bread =-.

  4. [...] This morning we woke up to about 2 inches of snow.  Everything looked like a winter wonderland.  The air was crisp and clean and the trees with the snow on them looked like they were right out of a magazine.  We went to check the weather because we had heard it was supposed to get bad.  Sure enough, we are supposed to have snow through Tuesday, then start again on Thursday.  We got our stuff together and headed to the store to pick up a few things.  If we are going to get snowed in, I wanted to make sure we had stuff to make chili.  The roads weren’t too bad.  It seemed like they had been pretty heavily salted.  So we didn’t have a hard time getting back home.  Then we were home to stay.  We had a few chores to do around the house (ahem… like using the new washing machine/dryer ) but I knew I wanted to cook today.  I had read on a blog that I like about making pita bread at home.  Yummy!  When I started to look through our pantry, I noticed we had a bruschetta spice packet.  So I thought I would make the pita bread, and then make pita chips with it.  What a great snack!  We ended up eating it as our dinner.  It is a whole wheat pita bread recipe, and it tastes delicious.  Here’s where where I got the pita bread recipe from: http://www.mommypotamus.com/soaked-pita-bread-recipe/. [...]

  5. Jonathan says:

    Fantastic recipe. I just got done trying my first batch and it came out more as a flat bread than as a pita. But I neglected to let each of the smaller balls of dough rest so that may have had something to do with it. I used my Vitamix to grind the flour yesterday and it worked perfectly. Do you have a soaked flour bread recipe? I’d be interested to try that. Thanks forthe post, made m wife and I very happy.

    • Heather says:

      Hey Jonathan! Thanks for letting me know how it worked out for you! At this point I don’t have a bread recipe posted because my husband is avoiding grains and therefore I haven’t had the opportunity to perfect my sourdough recipe. Someday, though! It was great to hear from you!

  6. …and now I think I might have to make a couple batches of these. lol. I’m searching for some easy, customizable, healthy lunches over the next few weeks (I am due with #3 on Friday!). My kids love any form of bread so if I had these around with some veggies and sliced meat, I think we’d be good….

  7. [...] found this recipe on Mommypotamus right before Jacob was born and I just had to try it.  In fact, I spent three hours the day [...]

  8. Alicia says:

    I’m just starting out with soaking grains (my copy of Nourishing Traditions should be on it’s way soon). I am so happy to have found this recipe because the original from The Fresh Loaf was the one I’ve been using for the past year or so and I loved it! I am starting this tonight for dinner tomorrow, thank you for sharing this recipe.

  9. Amanda R says:

    Oops! Just attempted my first batch…and…I made unleavened bread. Lol! Tasty unleavened bread, though! (Great for Lent/Passover) Many great things arose from initial mistakes. Trial #2 is underway. This time I won’t forget the yeast!!

  10. Hannah says:

    Question: Did you dissolve the yeast in water/sugar mixture to activate it before adding it to the rest of the dough (that had sat overnight)? My soaked flour is sitting on the counter now (15 hours later) and seems a little dry. Will the yeast and salt added so “late in the game” incorporate well into the dough? I’m finishing the bread in a few hours, so please let me know!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Hannah, it is my understanding that some need to be activated and some don’t. Mine didn’t, but you’ll definitely want to follow the instructions that came with yours. :-D

  11. Joann says:

    Great recipe! Thank you for the info on soaking. BTW, I had to bake these at 500 degrees for 5 min. (I had another recipe with those instructions, and the pitas wouldn’t puff for me at a lower temp.)

  12. Qira says:

    Could you use a different type of flour? I believe I’m starting to have a gluten intolerance but I love pita bread actually I love all breads. So its been a little rough on me cutting them out.

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