Gluten Free Pitta Bread
While the Great British Bake Off is on the telly this year, I will be taking on the challenge of Baking with the Bake Off and attempting all the technical challenges; to see how 'technical' they are, and how much they actually test the knowledge of the average baker. Being fairly new to the art of baking, this gives me a chance to boost my repertoire and potentially have an entertaining bunch of videos for the world to see.
It was a tense week on Bake Off during the Alternative Ingredients week. They had to make Sugar Free Cakes, Dairy Free Ice-Cream Rolls and for the Technical, Gluten Free Pitta Bread. The pitta bread contained something called Psyllium Powder that works in the same way as gluten to build elasticity. I'm not entirely sure on the science behind it, but when I had a google, it became more apparent of its medicinal uses for things like constipation. The more you know.
Now, I must confess, I have already tried making Pitta Bread. I parodied the Hunger Games and made a Peeta-Bread themed bake, after the main character Peeta Mellark. You can watch that here.
The recipe I was to use was the same one they used on Bake Off, available here. So I gathered my ingredients and got to work. Putting water into the psyllium husk and leaving to the side turned it into a lovely porridge, which I was to add at the end to bring it all together.
It seemed nice and straight forward, my previous experience with breads taught me to keep the yeast and salt/sugar separate so as not to kill the yeast until everything combines together. I am not entirely sure how the yeast being combined with the salt while in the dough doesn't kill it then, but I guess science has an answer. Once everything was combined and the psyllium was added, it was all to be put into a bowl to prove for an hour and a half. By now, I realised that my proving techniques are hit and miss, so I just hoped I had done enough to activate the yeast and get a good rise.
After the dough had proved, I had to tear it into 12 individual pieces and then flatten to 4mm thin ovals. In homage to Alvin, I made one a triangle due to his questioning of the shape of a pitta (or was it a Naan) during the episode. In the mean time the oven was pre-heating, along with some baking trays. Once heated, the baking trays were coated with flour and the pittas were placed evenly on the trays and baked until they puffed up and turned golden brown.
Now, if I had bothered to pay attention to my Baguettes that I made the week before, I would have remembered that adding steam to any bread, makes the dough more crisp and gives a better even bake (or something, I really should have paid attention). I have since learned that this will help give the pitta some puff, and help create the much needed pocket that it is known for. Mine did not contain much of a pocket, though during the taste test for the YouTube video, I did find one by accident. Which was lovely.
In the end, I was delighted with the taste, but couldn't say it was a complete success due to the lack of pocket action. All in all, I learned a few things about baking Gluten Free and that steam makes good bread. Feel free to watch the whole video below for a gorgeous visual extravaganza.
I did make some hummus to eat alongside the pitta, which was absolutely delicious. The recipe came from the lovely couple from Inspired Taste and can be found here.
Next time, I will be tackling the Greek/Cypriot bake of a Flaounes. Come along and join me in figuring out not only how to bake it, but how to pronounce it.
Thank you very much, I'll see you soon.