fresh pita with sourdough discard
i'm throwing sourdough discard into everything these days in an attempt to avoid waste. it really shines as a supplement to quick breads that would not otherwise have time to develop any complex flavor.
by request of a couple of coworkers, here is my adaptation of the NYT pita recipe, using 100% hydration sourdough discard made with 50% whole wheat and 50% all purpose flour.
homemade pita bread with sourdough discard
almost entirely cribbed from the new york times
yield: 8 pitas (pitae?)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
140 g sourdough discard, 100% hydration
166 g water
275 g unbleached all-purpose flour
make a sponge: put lukewarm (85° - 90° F) water into the bowl of a large stand mixer. add yeast and sugar and whisk to dissolve. add the sourdough discard and whisk together. put bowl in a warm (not hot) place like an oven with the light turned on, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.
add salt, olive oil and all-purpose flour and mix with your hands or a dough whisk until mixture forms a shaggy mass. attach to mixer with dough hook. mix on low 1 minute, then pause to scrape down and incorporate any stray bits of dry dough.
knead on low for 2 more minutes, until smooth. cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. the dough should be smooth and moist.
cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. put bowl back into the oven or other warm place, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. you can also ferment in the fridge overnight to develop even more flavor, just be sure to bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.
when dough has doubled, scrape out onto a clean work surface and split into 8 pieces of equal size. the dough will be very sticky. shape the equal pieces into a ball to the best of your ability, cover with a damp towel, and rest for 10 minutes.
in the meantime, heat your oven to 475 degrees. on the bottom shelf of the oven, place a cast iron skillet, comal, or baking stone.
dust your work surface generously with flour. working one at a time (keep the rest of the dough covered), use a dough scrape to remove 1 dough ball and set on your floured surface. dust the top generously with flour and shake off the excess, then roll out using a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thickness. carefully lift the dough and transfer it to the hot skillet, closing the oven door as quickly as possible. the dough should start to inflate immediately. after 2 minutes, flip the pita and cook for another minute. it should not be too browned.
transfer warm pita to a cloth napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. repeat with the rest of the dough balls, taking care to preheat the skillet again between each one.