Homemade pita bread

Pita bread
Pita bread

This weekend was pretty hectic and I didn’t have a chance to bake, so this is a Monday night one-off!

To be honest, I never thought I’d be the person who came home from work and started baking bread.

But, I was planning to make a tagine for dinner so thought I’d take a stab at pita bread.

It was surprisingly easy to manage while making the rest of the meal – basically, I started the dough before dinner, let it prove while I focused on the tagine itself, and then shaped and baked while the tagine was cooking.

I used Paul Hollywood’s recipe and, as he promised, they were so much better than the ones you get in the shops.

They were soft, light and perfect for mopping up leftover sauce. I think using a pizza stone really helped the crust and golden colour.

Paul’s included nigella seeds which I didn’t have, but they were delicious plain.

Definitely give it a go!

Paul Hollywood’s pita bread

250g/9oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 x 7g sachet instant yeast
20g/⅔oz nigella seeds or black onion seeds
1 tsp salt
160ml/5½fl oz water
2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for kneading

In a bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, nigella seeds and salt. Add 120ml/4fl oz of the water and 1½ teaspoons of oil. Using your fingers mix the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water and oil until all the flour has come away from the sides and you have a soft dough. (You may not need all the water; the dough should be soft and not sticky.)

Pour a little oil onto your work top. Place the dough on top and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning but will form a smooth dough once kneaded. Once a smooth dough is achieved, place it into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 250C/475F/Gas 9 and place a clean baking tray or baking stone on the middle shelf.

When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Knock the dough back by folding it inwards over and over again until all the air is knocked out. Split the dough into 4-6 equally sized balls. Roll each ball into an oval shape 3-5mm thick.

Remove the hot tray from the oven, dust with flour and place the pita breads on it. You may have to cook them in batches.

Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until they just start to colour. Remove them from the oven and cover with a clean cloth until they are cool.


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