I was fiddling with pita over the weekend and came up with this new formula. It’s much faster than the original version, assuming you have some refreshed and active starter hanging around. I put sourdough in quotations since a bread that’s not made with a starter that’s local to the San Francisco Bay area can’t really claim to be “sour” in that sense. But it still tastes darn good.
11 ounces unbleached all-purpose (AP) flour (substitute whole wheat four for up to half if desired)
10 ounces bread starter
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/4 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive or vegetable oil
3/4 cup (6 ounces) lukewarm water
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and stir on low until all the ingredients are moist, about 30 seconds. Switch to a dough hook and knead 5-7 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Let rise in an oiled bowl for an hour, until almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 550 and arrange a pizza stone on the middle rack. Turn the dough out of the bowl and divide it into nine 3-ounce pieces. Roll each into a ball according to the bun shaping instructions under the How to Shape Buns and Rolls tutorial over to the right. Let them rest for 20- 30 minutes. Roll out to circles about 7 inches across. Let rest about 10 minutes.
When ready, simply pick up one or two pitas and drop them onto the baking stone. Bake for 2-3 minutes, until puffy, then gently, with tongs, turn over. Bake another two minutes or so, until the breads achieve the desired color (the lighter the pitas, the more tender and flexible they’ll be…I like mine a little darker for flavor). Cool and eat. These freeze very well.