Friday 12 June 2020

Homemade Shawarma Bread / Pita Bread Pan & Oven Method

Today I'll share with you how to make this soft and chewy homemade Pita Bread that puffs like a Balloon creating beautiful pockets. You can use it for your shawarma, falafels and hummus. I promise you once you make this you would never even look at the store-bought pita bread anymore.

Pita is a type of flatbread from the Mediterranean region. This Pita bread is very well know in Arab countries it's also often referred to as Arabic Bread, Syrian Bread or Greek Pita Bread.

Even though pita bread is very similar to naan bread a few ingredients used to make pita bread gives it the unique pocket bread which makes it ideal for shawarma, veggie fillings and sandwiches.

With this recipe I made 10 pita breads in total and yes, I did weigh every dough ball so that all my pita breads end up the same size! I used AdoricLife electronic kitchen scale to weigh my dough balls. I just love the slim design and how precise it is. Grab the Adoric kitchen scale over HERE

I prepare the pita bread using 2 different methods over a skillet/tawa and in the oven using a Pizza stone. If you're using the latter version you'll end up with delicious Syrian and Lebanese style of pita bread. Slightly stiffer but well toasted. Watch the VIDEO below for more instructions.

Nonetheless both method tasted amazing. Both were rich in flavour.

Do I need a Pizza Stone in my kitchen?
Yes, you should! Okay, maybe it's just me because my favourite part of the bread is crust, but I reckon that pizza stones are actually more necessary in bread baking than in pizza making. A pizza stone changes the game by acting as a point high heat transfer in an oven or on the grill. When used properly, the stone heats up and holds very high temperatures. When the pizza is placed on the stone the crust begins to cook immediately, mimicking the cooking style of a traditional brick oven.

Using a pizza stone will ultimately give you faster cook times and far better crust! :)

How to use a Pizza Stone in the Oven?

  • Preheat the stone until it reaches 550° F (Pizzacraft stones can withstand 900° F) The correct oven temp for a pizza stone should exceed 500° F if possible.
  • Place room temperature pita bread in the centre of the stone (do not season stone).
  • Cook for 2-3 mins with grill lid/oven closed.
  • Let the stone cool in the oven or grill before removing to clean.
Where to buy the Pizza Stone? 
I bought mine from Amazon it's quite affordable. You won't regret purchasing one and will last you for years if use it the correct way! Click HERE to buy.

What yeast do I use?
Choose to use active dry, fresh or instant variety, any kind of yeast would work as long as it has not crossed the expiry date.

If you are using the active dry yeast make sure you activate the yeast before proceeding with the recipe.

Since I am using the instant variety of yeast I skipped this step and directly added everything to the flour mixture.

How to cook pita over the pan?
To cook pita in a skillet (stove-top): Heat a cast iron skillet /tawa over medium-high heat. Once hot working with one pita at a time, lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and cook for 30 seconds, until bubbles start to form.

Using a spatula, flip the pita over and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside the pita is ready when it puffs up forming a pocket.

Tip: Sometimes, with this stove-top method, the pita may not puff or may only form a small pocket. Try pressing the surface of the pita gently with a clean towel. Keep baked pita covered with a clean towel while you work on the rest.

Why won’t my pita puff? 
Note that pita will not stay puffy once it sits out of the oven for a bit. We want it to puff during the baking process so that it forms a pocket  to hold all sorts of tasty items. But let’s just agree that even pitas that don’t puff and end up more like a flatbread without a pocket are still delicious.

That said, the main reason pita won’t puff has to do with baking temperature–the oven or the skillet aren’t hot enough. Make sure both are well-heated before cooking. 

Another reason your pita doesn't puff is because the dough you prepared is not moist enough. You'll 

Shawarma Bread / Pita Bread Recipe

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (plus 1/2 cup for dusting)
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dry yeast (use fresh yeast if available)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water (temperature between 105-117F)
  1. Combine all purpose flour and salt. Mix well in the middle make a hole, add sugar, dry yeast, warm water and olive oil. Stir to mix and combine everything into a sticky mass.
  2. Transfer to your worktop dust with 1/2 cup of wholemeal flour/atta and knead for 5-10 mins until you get a soft and tacky dough. 
  3. Lightly oil the same mixing bowl. Transfer the dough into it, coat it with olive oil from all sides to refrain it from drying and then allow it for first proofing 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours lightly deflate the gas and divide the dough into 10 equal parts. Use a kitchen scale to make 10 equal balls. Tuck the sides in of it and give it a round shape. Press in the centre and cover with a tea towel. Repeat the process until you shape all of them into roundels.
  5. Take the first dough that you shaped and roll it thinly and evenly to 6 inches in diameter. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or dust of flour and cover with a tea towel.
  6. Once you have rolled out all the roundels allow it for second proofing - 30 mins.
  7. Preheat the oven to 250 degree Celsius with the baking stone inside (pre-heated for hour). Right before baking flip the rolled out dough on to the stone and bake for 2-3 mins until it is nicely puffed up.
  8. To make it on a stove-top make sure that the skillet is hot. Flip the rolled out dough and place it on the hot skillet. After about 30 sec flip the dough and you will observe that the dough puffs up like a balloon in minute's time. Flip it over again and cook on both sides.
  9. Wrap it in a tea towel as soon as it comes out of the oven or skillet to keep it soft.
  10. Pita bread tastes best when still warm.


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