Friday, September 3, 2010

grilled pita bread

Don't be intimidated by this recipe.  Or, don't think there is no reason you should make your own pita bread when it's pretty darn easy to buy it.  Try this because it is just unbelievably good coming off your grill.  Technically, you are not grilling the pitas.  You are baking them in a cast iron pan on your grill.  Two things are essential to this recipe:  a cast iron pan (inexpensive go to Target and get one) and a stand mixer with a dough hook (not really inexpensive, but very handy).  My cast iron pan is a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law, Becky who is a great cook from a farm family full of good cooks.  My stand mixer is a classic Kitchenaid white model that I believe my wonderful in-laws gifted to me one year after many years of longing for one.  Now they come in some great colors which is actually pretty important since it's massive and stays out on the counter in many kitchens including mine.

This recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine.  Love that magazine.  I make this whenever I make Greek food (see the omg chicken skewers from an earlier post).  I also make it often when I'm just grilling chicken because there is still room on the grill for the cast iron pan.   Remember to start the dough at least two hours before you are going to grill the pitas.   Fresh and hot off the grill the aroma, taste and texture are heavenly.  One of the keys is the honey which makes them good in a way that the fried biscuits at the Nashville House (all Hoosiers who have had the pleasure of dining on the fried chicken family-style dinner there after a hike in Brown County, say "Amen!") are worth the drive.  Another key is brushing a reasonable amount of olive oil in the pan as a new batch is about to go in.  Don't worry about the calories.  Olive oil is good for you.  Besides, you are going to serve them with tzatziki or maybe a dipping oil or more honey.  It's not a diet food.  Take an extra walk and eat the carbs.  Life is short.  Eat good food!
first side down on on the grill in the vintage pan


Grilled Pita Bread

1 T honey
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 C unbleached, all purpose flour (King Arthur Flour is excellent)
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 T olive oil

In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix the honey with 1/2 C of lukewarm water and stir in the yeast.  Let mixture sit until foamy, 2 to 3 minutes (yeast digesting honey, yummm).  Put both flours and the salt in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  With mixer running on low speed, blend in the olive oil until fully incorporated, 2 minutes.  Add the yeast mixture and an additional one cup of warm water and mix until fully incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes more.  Raise the speed to medium and "knead" the dough until it forms a smooth ball that is no longer sticky, 4 to 5 minutes.  If the dough is too wet sparingly add more flour a teaspoon at a time.  Raise the speed to medium high and knead for an additional 5 minutes.  Oil the mixing bowl around the dough and turn to coat a bit, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a draft-free and warm place (easy to find this time of year, but when it's chilly just preheat your oven for a couple of minutes just until it's warm, not baking hot and turn the oven off and put the bowl in the oven) for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand to or three times to remove air bubbles. Form the dough into a log and cut it evenly in 10 pieces.  Form each piece into a ball and roll the balls into disks about 1/4 inch thick and 6-inches in diameter.  It's pretty easy to do this with just your hands, no rolling pin required.  Lightly brush two baking sheets with olive oil and place disks on the sheets, cover with a tea towel and let rise until just doubled in thickness, 30 minutes or so.  Prepare a medium high gas grill fire, leaving one burner off.  Brush a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and put it over the cool zone on the grill.  When the pan is very hot, cook the pitas in batches (I can fit two in mine) until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip the pitas and continue cooking until lightly golden brown on the bottom and cooked through, 2 or 3 minutes more.  Don't walk away for long and burn your pitas!  Serve warm.  If you cool them, wrap them tightly to keep them fresh (freeze them if not using in a day).

finished delicious pitas!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I have been looking for a pita recipe that resembles the pita I eat at this high end restaurant in my area. The pita is almost pancake like and has a unique taste and texture to it. Yours are the only ones I found that look similar after cooking. Could you describe your pita?

    Thanks!
    Mike

    ReplyDelete