WHOLE MEAL PITA

Whole meal pita

I love home made bread.  I think there is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread in the house, at any time of the day.  Maybe not many of you know, but some of the best bakers in Milan are actually of Arab origin.  And they make fantastic bread.  One of my favourite has always been pita, which we simply call “panino arabo” (literally Arab bread).  I loved it because it was ever so slightly crusty on the outside, yet so soft and chewy on the inside… just writing about it makes me hungry.  Since I started blogging, I have attempted lots of new recipes, I can say I have become more self confident in my cooking skills and I now dare much more.  So, why not try to make my favourite bread at home?  And in an attempt to eat healthier food, I decided to make a whole meal pita.  I was shocked to learn that making pita is actually quite easy.  I cooked mine on a pizza stone, but it can also been done on regular baking sheets.  The following recipe will make the most delicious pita you have ever eaten and it is perfect as a base for any kind of sandwich or to eat with home made hummus.

 

Recipe adapted from The Galley Gourmet

Ingredients: (makes approximately 12 pitas)
2 tbsp honey
2 cups lukewarm water
2 x 1/4-ounce (2 x 7gms) packages active dry yeast
3 cups (375 gms) all-purpose flour
3 cups (360 gms) whole meal flour
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 tbsp for coating


Stir together the honey and 1 cup of the lukewarm water in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook.  Stir in the dry yeast and let it activate until frothy.  This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Now add both types of flour, salt and the 1/4 cup oil.

Knead on low speed until the mixture is smooth and elastic, adding the remaining 1 cup of lukewarm water a tablespoon at a time as needed.  Keep in mind that the dough has to be soft and slightly sticky.  Increase the speed to medium and knead for 4-5 minutes.  When ready, transfer the dough on a benchtop sprinkled with flour and shape into a ball.

Coat it with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and put it back in the mixer bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size (it will take about 1 hour).

Gently deflate the dough by pressing it with your hands and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide it into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a ball.

Roll each ball into a 1/8-inch (0.3 cm) thick circle, about 7-inches (17.5 cm) in diameter.

Remember to keep the remaining balls of dough covered with a sheet of plastic wrap.  Put the cricles on a large baking sheet without overlapping them and cover them with a lightly damp towel.  Let them rise for 1 hour until puffy.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 500º F (260º C, or the maximum temperature your oven allows if less than 260º C).  I have used my pizza stones and have put the pita directly on the stones.  They cooked perfectly and puffed up nicely without having to even turn them over.  You can also bake them on baking sheets for about 5 minutes.  Take the pitas out of the oven and stack them 3 or 4 at a time and wrap them in clean kitchen towels.

Serve immediately or let them cool down to room temperature.

Well wrapped pitas can be kept for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Enjoy!

Whole meal pita

 

On a completely different note, I would like to thank the very very talented Jay from Tasty Appetite for awarding Manu’s Menu with the Versatile Blogger Award

and the Hundred Hearts Award

THANK YOU so much Jay from Tasty Appetite!!  I am honoured!  And please, stop by her wonderful site and browse through all her mouthwatering recipes… she recently made a killer Masala Dosa that I absolutely MUST try!

I also want to thank Paolo from Quatro Fromaggio for awarding Manu’s Menu with the Cannolo Award – an all-new award that Paolo created to award bloggers that preserve authentic Italian food.

As Paolo says, this award should “only be given to Authentic Italian Food Bloggers by another authentic Italian food blogger. Everyone blogging about authentic Italian food is eligible for the Cannolo award, not just those who were born in Italy.”

I am very honoured to receive this award.  I am always happy to be given awards (who isn’t?), but this is a special one for me.  Italians are very jealous of their cuisine as it is a very important part of our life and culture.  Living abroad, it can be hard to preserve our traditions, especially since we cannot always find the ingredients we need.  We also see many “Italian” dishes completely distorted and made into something they shouldn’t be.  And it can at times get frustrating.  I know I have said this many times, but you will never know what Italian food is, unless you eat it in Italy.  I am not against experimenting or innovation… but I also think that people too often use the term “Italian” without a precise knowledge of what that means.  Some Italian dishes are very specific, very traditional… and they should be called that specific name only if they are made in that specific way and with those ingredients.  I am not saying that the “other” dish is not tasty… I am saying it should just be given a different name.  As I have already said, I very rarely eat at Italian restaurants outside Italy as I have (never?) encountered a good/original place.  The only dish I eat out is pizza, and that too in very few and specific restaurants.  Italians can easily tell when a restaurant is really Italian, just by reading the menu.  As a general tip… if they have pasta, pizza or risotto with chicken, you can be almost sure that the chef is not Italian.  In Italy chicken is not eaten in any of those dishes.  The second thing I check is spelling… spelling mistakes = not Italian… but that’s harder to spot if you don’t know the language. ;-)
Anyhow… enough blathering… I don’t want to bore you!!  If you are interested, I have some info on “original” pizza toppings here.  And please, check out Paolo’s blog for more info on misconceptions about Italian food.  I truly admire his work and I agree with his philosophy and with what he is trying to achieve!  Bravo Paolo e grazie mille per il Cannolo Award!!!!

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28 Responses to WHOLE MEAL PITA

  1. What a great recipe! Making pita is something that has been on my list to do for some time now, I really need to get on it! Yours looks like it came out perfect. And congrats on the awards well deserved! :-)

  2. Pingback: Whole Meal Pita | Food Frenzy

  3. Curt says:

    I love pita bread, and I too love the smell of freshly baked bread. I never even thought of making my own pita bread! I’ll have to give that one a try.

  4. Congratulations Manu, what great awards. The pita bread looks amazing. I bet a tuna waldorf would be delicious in it. I will try to make these this weekend!

  5. sarah says:

    Wow Manu, this recipe sounds wonderful. Love how easy it is too!

  6. Your pitas look perfect. They are so puffy and airy. Amazing job, I would love to try these!

  7. Rosa says:

    Those pita breads are wonderful! I sometimes make the WW version and just love it.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  8. Ali says:

    I second you on that, nothing smells great like freshly homemade bread. Your pita looks delicious, such a lovely post.

  9. Liz says:

    I can’t find decent fresh pita around here, so I’m delighted to see your recipe! YUM.

  10. Divya says:

    Congrats on the awards, Manu! I never thought of making pita bread at home -it’s always something I go buy. But, it looks easy enough and yours look so light and airy!

  11. Manu this looks absolutely fantastic…
    Pita is a staple at my home, anything and everything taste better with it.
    Now this one is what I”ll be making soon…..
    I can really feel the taste of warm pita out of your oven, God you are so far otherwise I would have been at your door for this beauty.

  12. Juliana says:

    Wow Manu, homemade pita bread…looks delicious, love how they puff up :-)
    Hope you are having a fantastic week and congratulations on your award!

  13. Thanks Manu for accepting the Cannolo Award and for helping me preserve authentic Italian cuisine. The reasons you are giving are the exact reasons why I made the award :) Thanks also for the kind words.

    But speaking of something that isn’t Italian, your pita bread looks fantastic!

  14. Yulia says:

    Great stuff, thanks a lot for sharing!!!
    Just one question – can it be made entirely out of wholemeal flour?Any important reason to mixing it with the regular all-purpose one?
    Many thanks!

    • Manu says:

      Hi Yulia! Thank you so much!!! :-) I haven’t tried it, but I think you should be able to make them also with 100% whole meal flour! :-) Let me know how you go, if you try!! :-)

  15. First of all, I have always thought it was funny that so many “Italian dishes” abroad have chicken in them. You never eat pasta or risotto with chicken (and you can forget pizza!). Not that it is a bad combination in all cases. It just isn’t an Italian thing AT ALL. It is funny that I have always lamented the fact that we don’t get pita here and I never realized a panino arabo is pita bread. Perhaps because I have rarely come across an arabo that is nice and hollow on the inside? I will buy panini arabi with a new frame of mind now and will also try baking my own. Your pita still looks better and more authentic to me!

  16. Alyssa says:

    Your pitas look wonderful! Living in a country where pitas are very widely available and cheap, I’ve just been buying them. But you are right, there is nothing that can replace the smell of freshly baked bread!

  17. Pingback: Chicken Shawarma

  18. Suzi says:

    These look delicious. I am going to try your recipe, when I made them in the past I couldn’t open them to stuff them, had to fold them over. Thanks!

  19. Lyn says:

    I can almost ‘smell’ the nice aroma of the freshly baked bread here! Tho I’ve never really tried the pita bread but I can tell from your beautiful pics here that they taste so great! :D
    Congrats on your awards, Manu! You really really deserve them esp the Cannolo Award bcoz you really taught me what’s a real, true Italian Cuisine! There’re so many for me to learn in future. ;)

  20. kankana says:

    They have puffed up so nicely … great job on this!

  21. PolaM says:

    Ma che meraviglia questo pane! It looks incredibly good! And the inside is perfect! Love it!

  22. Wow Manu, each time you post a bread recipe it looks easy to do. So, this is going to be in my to do list.

  23. I love pita bread! Great recipe! :)

  24. I am so impressed that you made your own pita!! Great job! :)

  25. Sarah says:

    Cant wait to try this out! This looks awesome!

  26. afracooking says:

    I have tried many different pita recipes. But yours is without a doubt my favourite. I have already made it a few times now! I loved it so much I posted it on my own blog. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes!
    http://afracooking.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/pita-bread/

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