Wild Morning Bread #BBB

Our bake for this month is a sourdough risen pita, based on Lebanese morning bread.  I remember mom sometimes making PB&J pitas for my school lunch box, probably because pitas were on sale or cheaper than sandwich bread at the time.  Since I was a picky kid it was strictly PBJ, no other fun stuff, although I am sure she made better meals with hers.  I seem to recall alfalfa sprouts always being in the fridge and I'm sure those went into some pitas.  I did love the pocket part of pitas though, that was just cool and relatively unusual for our little logging town.  Come to think of it, this is not the first Lebanese bread we've made!


I decided to go with teff for my whole grain and would use less water next time as it does not absorb as much as corn meal.  Pita dough should be tacky but not sticky.  Mine was a little wet when it came time to shape.  Don't worry about whether or not your pita puffs up while baking, it will still be tasty.  Only one of mine puffed all the way, the rest had lots of medium bubble puffs.

What's nice is that this dough holds very well before baking, so you can make it in the morning or even the night before and still bake in the afternoon or evening.  Then fill with whatever you can think of: will you go with authentic Lebanese fare, or something else?  So many options.  We would love to have you try out these easy breads with us this month and share how they turned out and what you thought!  (And what you filled them with or dipped them in, etc.!)  New recipes are posted every month on the 16th. Check out our Facebook group to see the participants' baking results during that time.  If you would like to post your results with a Buddy badge on a blog, let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page. 

(You know, pitas actually make delightful oven chips, just in case you don't use them all up on the first day!)

Wild Morning Bread
based on the recipe for khobz al-Sabah (Lebanese morning bread) in "Savory Baking from the Mediterranean" by Anissa Helou
makes 6 pitas

dessert spoonful culture (whole wheat 100% hydration starter) from the fridge (about 40 g)
50 g [50 ml] room temperature water (plus more as needed)
50 g [⅓ cup] 'no-additives' 100% whole wheat flour (plus more as needed)

250 g [1⅔ cups] unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
50 g [⅓ cup] cornmeal (I used fresh ground teff flour)
160 g [160 ml (½ cup + 8 tsp)] water (I recommend starting with a little less and then going by feel)
all of the leavener from above (when it floats – showing that it's as strong as it can be)
7 g [generous tsp] sea salt + 10 g [2 tsp] water (reduced from original recipe)

Leavener: The night before you will be making the bread, put a spoonful of sourdough culture from the fridge into a small bowl. Stir in 50 grams water and 50 grams whole wheat flour.  Cover and put into the cold oven (if the night temperatures are cool, turn the oven light on) to leave overnight.

Dough: On the day you will be making the bread, check to see if the starter floats in a small bowl of cool water. If it is domed but it doesn't float, wait for 30 minutes or so and try again. If the starter is bubbly but flat or concave on the surface, stir in about 5 grams each of whole wheat flour and water. Cover and leave on the counter, checking again for floating about 20-30 minutes later. It will probably float.  Now proceed with making the final dough.

Using a bowl that is large enough for the dough to triple, sift in all-purpose flour. Whisk in corn meal. Add 160 grams of water and all of the leavener. Using a dough whisk or wooden spoon, stir just enough to mix it together. Cover with a plate and leave on counter for about 20 minutes.

Right after mixing in the salt

Kneading and adding the salt: Whisk salt and 10 grams water into a small bowl and pour on top of the dough. Wash your hands and leave one hand wet. With the back of your hand against the side of the bowl, reach down into the bowl to the bottom of the dough and pull it up to the fold it over the top. Turn the bowl with your other hand and repeat 4 or 5 times. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside on the counter for about 20 minutes.

After first fold

Repeat the previous step 2 or 3 times more. The dough will become more smooth and silky to the touch. If the dough seems a little dry, add a splash more water and squoosh it in.  The dough should be tacky but not sticky.

Proofing: Cover and leave on the counter. (Check the dough every so often as the afternoon progresses into evening. If you're not ready to bake the bread, wet your hands and gently fold the dough whenever it has doubled.

Ready to divide and shape

Preheat: Around dinnertime on the day you will be baking the bread in the:

barbecue: Light the barbecue, close the lid, and turn it to high.

for the oven: place a pizza stone on the middle shelf of the oven set at 450ºF.

Pre-Shaping: While the bbq/oven is preheating, pour the risen dough onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough evenly into 6 pieces. Using floured hands, shape each piece into a round. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Shaping: Starting with the first round made, using a rolling pin, roll the round out into a disc about 15cm (~6 inches) in diameter. As you roll, flour well to make sure that the disc can be lifted up easily. Repeat with all the rounds.

Baking: When the bbq/oven is hot hot hot, carry the board of rounds and, using a dough scraper, if using the:

barbecue: place each round directly on the grill and close the lid of the barbecue. After a minute or so, use blunt-nosed tongs to move the rounds from place to place, to account for uneven heat. Be thrilled the bread puffs up. Don't get too worried if a balloon bursts as you move the pita and enjoy the show of steam escaping. Even if it is flat, the pita will still taste good!

oven: place each round on the hot stone on the middle shelf of the oven still turned to high heat (450F).

It takes 5-10 minutes to bake the breads. When they balloon up, gently turn them over. Also, move them around from time to time to account for uneven heat in the barbecue and oven. Use oven mitts and tongs.

To check to see if the breads are done, use blunt-nosed tongs to gently lift them up. They should be light weight and puffy. As they are done, put them into a basket.

Serve immediately.

The rest of the Bread Baking Babes



  1. They do make nice chips don't they? Yours look lovely and I love that you used teff.

  2. The teff sure does impart a lovely color. Making chips out of these is a great idea!

    1. I first used it in pancakes and they were such a lovely caramel walnut color when fried up!

  3. I know the world loves PB & J but it wasn't part of my childhood. PB sandwiches, yes; jelly sandwiches, yes - but the 2 of them together? ?? No thank you lol. But I love Pita Bread and yours looks delicious - I'll be the one with the sprouts....

  4. The ones that puffed REALLY puffed! Your pitas look gorgeous. But I can't get over that your dough was too wet. Ours was too dry! Both times. Good idea to use teff.

    And alfalfa sprouts? J'adore alfalfa sprouts in sandwiches! Remind me to sprout some. (They're increasingly difficult to get at the vegetable store because they get moldy so quickly, so it isn't worth it for the stores to carry them.)

    1. They always had them when I was little but you're right, I rarely see them anymore. Too bad, nice little powerhouse. But broccoli sprouts are fantastic too. Sprouts are so easy to do at home, even my Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls had a recipe to make sprouts on a damp towel. Great Grandma got me that book some time in the early 80s...

    2. You're right. They are ridiculously easy to make at home. I don't know that I've ever seen alfalfa seeds but we love radish sprouts. Nigella sprouts and mustard sprouts are delicious too. (I did not know about broccoli sprouts; thanks for the tip.)

    3. Come to think of it, it was indeed mustard seed sprouts in that old kids cookbook!

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