Sourdough Pitta

Pitta shares its heritage, and etymology, with pizza, pide and other low-risen breads found from eastern Europe to the Levant. To create the “pocket” that pitta is known for, a really good thwack of bottom heat is essential, from an oven with a stone floor or a really hot baking stone in it. With that, the oven spring in such a thin dough will push it to form a single bubble. Jack says, “Stuff them with falafel, slaw, hummus, harissa, minty yogurt and grilled halloumi.”

FROM MIXING TO OVEN: 5½–7 hours
BAKING TIME: 2–4 minutes each batch

Ingredients

  • 315g/11oz/ cups white bread flour
  • 210g/oz/1 cup minus 2 tbsp water
  • 70g/oz/5 tbsp wholemeal/wholewheat sourdough starter
  • 5g/1 tsp fine/table salt
  • semolina, for dusting (optional)

Method

  1. Mix the flour, water and sourdough starter together thoroughly. Cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Stretch the dough out, sprinkle the salt over it and work it in for a few minutes to make sure it’s evenly distributed and starting to dissolve. Knead the dough for 5–10 minutes, then cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 3–4 hours until pillowy.
  3. Dust the work surface with semolina or flour. Divide the dough into 6 equal-size pieces, shape them into balls, place on the dusted work surface, cover and leave to prove for 40–60 minutes.
  4. Heat the oven to 250°C/230°C fan/480°F/gas 9+, or as high as it will go, with a baking stone or baking sheet in place. Roll out each ball of dough to an oval about 5mm/¼in thick. Cover and leave to rest for 5–10 minutes.
  5. Using a floured peel, slide as many of the pittas as will fit onto the hot baking stone. Bake for 2–4 minutes until puffed up, without letting them brown or crisp. Wrap in a clean dish towel while cooling so that the escaping steam stays close to the pittas and helps to keep them supple, while you bake the remaining pieces of dough.

JACK SMYLIE WILD
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