After making pita bread with the original recipe, I noticed that the pitas would get very tough, almost leather like once the pita’s had cooled from baking. So I started flipping through this old bread baking book that I own for some problem solving help. And in the bread books recipe for pita bread it mentioned that if your pitas are very tough after baking, that it usually means that the bread has too much gluten. They recommended that the easiest way to correct the issue is that instead of using all high gluten/bread flour, to go with a 50/50 mix of bread flour and all purpose flour. So for version 2 of the recipe, I went with the 50/50 mix and kept anything else the same. Well this batch of 50/50 pitas still turned out tough. So after that little experiment failed (as well as the books advise being total BS), I was pretty much out of idea’s on why my pita’s were coming out tough.
About a couple of months ago, I was doing some cooking for my sisters Halloween dinner party, and one of the dishes that I had to make were pizza shells for “candy corn pizza wedges” (don’t ask.) I used my normal pizza dough recipe, but the flour I used was a super high gluten flour from Cargill that my sister had on hand. Since the wedges were going to be baked a second time so that the cheese could melt to make the wedges look like candy corn. Instead of fully baking the dough, I just blind baked the pizza shells for 3 minutes instead of the usual 5 minutes.
Well that ended up being the key, as to why my pita’s were turning out tough. But the more that I thought about it the more it made sense. Since with a longer baking time, it will make the bread drier (think about how soft under baked bread can be.) So with a 5 min bake time, I was baking more of a pita cracker (or pita chip) instead of a soft pita bread. So for v3, the only change was reducing the baking time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes on the original recipe.
One other change for v3 is that after I rolled out the pitas, I gave it a little extra time (5 to 10 minutes) of relaxing/rising time before popping the pita in the oven. One other thing that I still need to work, but that I’ve mentioned in the past, is not to roll out the pita too thin and basically working all the air pockets out of the dough. But both of these are just minor techniques that I need to keep working on with future batches of dough.
Side Note: I’m not posting any pics with this post, since the pitas pretty much look the same on the outside as the pitas in the original recipe.