Whole Wheat Pita

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Recipe from Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor by Peter Reinhart

Notes: For a dinner we were hosting on Sunday, I made two recipes out of Ottolenghi's first book, the harissa-marinated chicken with grapefruit salad, and the chickpeas and spinach with honeyed sweet potato. I thought freshly made pita would be a good accompaniment, and dug out Reinhart's recipe from his whole grain book.

I added a little bit of kamut flour to the whole wheat in the soaker, and made that on Saturday night, letting it ferment at room temperature. Early Sunday morning, I made the biga, putting it in the fridge. To be ready in time for dinner, I took out the biga around noon, and started making the dough around 14:00. As the kitchen wasn't particularly warm, I sped up the proofing by putting the covered dough in a warm oven. By 16:30, I started to portion out 8 dough balls, rolling them into thin rounds, and letting them rest for a bit. At the same time, I put the pizza stone on the rack at the lowest position, and preheated the oven to 500°F. The goal was to have the stone heated for at least an hour.

Each dough round was dusted with a bit of flour and then placed on a wooden peel to transfer directly onto the hot stone. Within 3 minutes, it started to puff. I waited between 30 seconds to a minute, then pulled out the baked pita and onto a rack to cool. Perhaps my oven wasn't hot enough, or I didn't wait long enough, but the pitas didn't develop any dark spots. In the future, I would start a bit earlier, as each pita takes about 4 minutes, and you're only supposed to do one at a time, so a batch of 8 is over half an hour. I might experiment with doing two at a time.

In any case, they were absolutely delicious (but all fresh bread is!). 100% whole wheat can be too heavy and grainy, but these pitas turned out wonderfully.

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