p3: Buckwheat Pita

20150608_171155#8, Buckwheat Pita

Think I may have mentioned, I have a bunch of buckwheat flour that I need to put to use, this after buying it for those Buckwheat Crepes a while back. Was hoping I could just find a fun and unique bread recipe to use this with… well, considering it’s completely gluten free, that adventure was basically shot to hell. All ‘breads’ that use this as the sole or majority are… barely breads, they’re like simple soda breads or beer breads, only the texture looks even worse. No kneading, shaping, proofing, etc, since… well, no gluten. There was one that seemed promising, with yeast and a simple rise, and I debated doing that, though the final product looked like a pile of… um, brown sticky expletive. Though to be fair, I think that may have been the writer’s fault, not the recipe (HAH! Screw you gluten free people!… I’m sorry).

T0713_buckwheat-pittes_001hen I came across a recipe for Buckwheat Pita Bread, a fun concept, and one that could actually yield some plausible results! It certainly looked good in the pictures, almost like a regular pita just with different colors, pressed flat and such. So I thought I’d go ahead and explore it!

Now, I will actually make note of some results before going into recipe. Firstly, again since there’s no way to knead it to smoothness, this really is quite the sticky dough! It gets better after the yeast ‘rises’ for an hour, but it’s still there. They use the technique of rolling between parchment paper, which is definitely better than on the counter, but transfer to the cooking surface still isn’t ideal. As such I decided to try out a few different methods to get my ideal transfer and cooking surface.

The recipe calls for sprinkling with polenta after rolling, which I’m coming to realize really doesn’t do anything for the situation. I brushed each side with olive oil before rolling, since the recipe also calls for brushing the oil in the skillet for cooking; that was certainly better, still not perfect, and I’m not exactly positive I actually liked having that oil on my personal cooking surfaces of the day. But my third experiment was practically perfect in its result! I’ve got it listed in the recipe.

20150608_190033Also, I mentioned a cast iron skillet, which is what the blogger used for his pita, and I’m sure can certainly be used to quite success for others. At the time however, and I’m now realizing is quite the coincidence, I had my electric crepe machine out from the day previous; considering how hot that gets, thought it’d be a fun thing to try using instead! And no, no it did not turn out that well (though it’s really hard to judge with these things… damn gluten-free, I shall vow to avoid it the rest of my life!), but I was running a secondary plan for half of my dough anyways, so no worries. A baking stone in a 500F oven did just the trick, so I can stop with the explanation talk and get to the recipe.

Recipe
375ml Lukewarm Water
10g Dry Yeast
500g Buckwheat Flour + extra for dusting
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tb Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Combine Water and Yeast, let sit 10-15 minutes to activate20150608_171459
  2. While this is happening, mix Flour, Sea Salt, and Oil. Once yeast is cloudy and activated, mix that in, working slowly until it all comes together into a dough (will be sticky)20150608_172826
  3. Cover with plastic, let rise for 1 hour20150608_184658
  4. Divide dough into 6 pieces (or just scoop out whatever sized chunk you want really), roll each piece into a ball and pat to a disk shape in your hand20150608_184955
  5. Set onto a piece of parchment paper, generously dusting each side of the dough with more buckwheat flour. Cover with another piece of parchment and gently roll out, rotating a bit with each roll, so it turns into a ¼” flat disk20150608_185210
  6. Poke a few holes with a fork and set aside20150608_190904
  7. Heat a cast iron skillet, or preheat oven with baking stone inside to 500F20150608_190041
  8. When ready, brush pan (perhaps stone too) with a bit of extra olive oil, and carefully transfer pita. Cook a few minutes, until lightly poofed up and the side has gained some color, flip and cook the same amount of time20150608_191709
  9. Transfer to cooling rack or plate and hold aside for use20150608_223128
  10. Brush with butter or oil while hot for a uniquely buckwheat experience, or let cool and carefully slice horizontally down the middle (helps to cut circle into two halves first) and stuff with your preferred fillings. Enjoy

What Have I Learned This Time?

My rolling skills are still shitty, though I did get a couple decent round guys going at one point.

Buckwheat doughs really do SUCK… can only make them not-sticky if you add a lot of the ‘flour,’ otherwise you’re stuck with sticky and little to no real rise.

20150608_190229The value of experimentation and persistence in solving problems… I mean, I already knew that, just had yet to apply it here, as mentioned with the whole not-so-easy rolling-out-and-transferring thing.

For sticky dough, if I need to transfer (and don’t NEED to worry too much about exact shape keeping), shaping on parchment paper first and then lifting and upending from the paper works really well! Sort of like pitas and other flatbreads in Indian that use that pillow thing to slap on the inside of a tandoor.

Any Thoughts?

If you DO make these, they really are best hot, with butter or something, when that funky buckwheat flavor is just upfront and the dough is sort of tender. Cold, it really isn’t much to compare to a regular pita, sort of chewy/dry-ish (and that was an interesting line, cuz they either feel like it’s still dough or just plain ‘dry’), and are really only good for cooking into pita chips or dipping, for heavy soakage, in a soup or stew of some sort.

Found it interesting that the original recipe person said he wanted to make them thinner since this thickness felt chewy, which I can definitely see. But I just cannot see getting thinner and then transferring to a pan, no matter how much buckwheat flour or whatever technique one uses. And if anything, even this thick it’s hard as hell to slice down the middle to make a sandwich pocket; so I’d actually rather make them THICKER, hope it solves its usefulness issues.

Though very likely I’ll just make an all-flour pita next time. I am very interested in it now! But that’ll be quite a while in the future, I wanna go back to my book for the next few recipes.

Does the Dough Like Me Yet?

No, but to be fair I’m pretty sure this one just has a bad attitude.