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Zaatar Spiced Pita Bread

An essential accompaniment to any Middle Eastern mezze, this simple and popular pita bread recipe is taught on many of our courses, including:

Pita bread is so satisfying by itself or served with delicious dips like Beetroot Muhammara,Beetroot Tzatziki, or Squash Bissara. You can buy the spice mix zaatar from shops, or better still, make your own! You can omit the za'atar completely, but we do love the added spice and flavour.

Jan making spiced pitta bread

Zaatar Spiced Pitta Bread

Dietary: Vegan

Serves: 6, makes 12 Pitta

Ingredients:

  • 500g unbleached white bread flour or wholemeal or spelt
  • 1 level tbsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp zaatar spice mix (or use paprika and sesame seeds)
  • 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 300ml warm water

Jan making spiced pitta bread

Method:

  1. Whisk together the yeast, sugar and water, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until frothy, which takes about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, spices and salt together, then add the olive oil and stir in the frothy yeast mixture.
  3. Mix by hand or in a Kenwood with a dough hook to a soft ball consistency, the dough should be sticky, so don’t be tempted to add more flour. If it’s too dry add a little more water.
  4. If using instant dried yeast, mix the flour and the yeast together and then mix in the salt and olive oil and add the warm water and then continue as above.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. To knead the dough use the heel of your hand or hands to gently push the dough away from you. At the same time, use your other hand to rotate the dough towards you, guiding it slowly around in a circle. Continue kneading for 5 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 pieces each weighing approx. 65g each and roll them into soft balls. Lightly flour the work surface and flatten each one with the palm of your hand or with a rolling pin until about 5mm thick and pitta shaped.
  8. Sprinkle with za'atar and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 230C/Gas 8, putting in 2 large oiled baking sheets halfway through the heating period. When the oven is up to temperature, slide the pitas onto the hot baking sheets and bake for 8 minutes. Don’t open the oven while they are baking, as it will stop the pittas puffing up.
  10. Put them on to wire racks to cool, they should be soft and puffy.

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