19 November, 2016

Sourdough pitta bread

Well, it had to come to this — with starter always on hand, I was eventually going to try making pitta bread with it. Turns out a quick Google was enough; I found a recipe on sourdough.com that worked first time. Here’s my version of it for the record. Strong bread flour doesn’t exist in France, so again I adapted it according to what I have. This recipe involves leaving it in the fridge overnight, but you don’t have to do that — you could just leave it at room temperature for 2-3 hours if it’s more convenient that way.

See also my non-sourdough version, which you can do on the dough cycle in a bread machine.

225 g T65 white organic flour
200 g T80 flour (“bise”)
200 g sourdough starter
225 g water
20 g olive oil
10 g sugar
8 g salt

Put everything except the salt in a bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix to a sticky dough. It will look lumpy and possibly too sticky, but don’t adjust that at this point. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes. During this time the flour will have absorbed some of the water. Add salt and adjust flour or water if you think it necessary — the dough should stick to your fingers without actually being wet.

Turn out and knead lightly for a couple of minutes. Rest for 20 minutes, then knead again. Then another 20 minute rest and another short knead. The dough should be tacky but smooth and stretchy. Let it rest for a final 20 minutes, then divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each small piece into a ball and put them on a floured baking tray. Put the tray inside a large plastic bag and leave in the fridge overnight (I ended up leaving it there for about 18 hours).

When ready to cook, preheat the oven as hot as it will go (220-250C), with either a baking stone or a large solid baking tray in it. While you wait, flatten out each disk into an oval on a floured surface. Put as many as you can fit onto the hot tray/stone, and close the oven as quickly as possible. Bake for 3-5 minutes, till puffed up and lightly coloured in places. As the pittas are ready, put them on a wire rack and cover with a teacloth to keep them soft.

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