Middle Eastern Pita on the Barbeque

 

Pita and Falafel

Baked falafel with olives and salad in fresh pita. This is not a sales pitch, but Tarazi Falafel Mix (Chino, CA) is really good and is gluten free and kosher. Falafel can be baked rather than fried, and a patty fits the pita better than the traditional round falafel ball. This pita recipe uses a gf flour mix that yields a chewy pita with a nice flavor of whole grains.

We have been able to find very tasty and well formed commercial gluten free pita in the UK; however, it is made from refined starches - good tasting but not necessarily healthy. Finding gluten free pita on the West Coast has been a challenge. We found GF pita on a bakery menu in Wisconsin; however, the baker had discontinued it because it did not always puff and form a pocket.

We have tried several recipes from the internet over the years, but none has been completely satisfactory. The best of the lot came from Living Without Magazine, but interestingly enough the same recipe (complete with identical errors) was replicated on Epicurious and other sites. The flour mixture in the Living Without/Epicurious version has a heavy rice flour component, and the instructions were followed exactly which resulted in pita loaves that were overly thick and doughy. We also found the loaves to be dry-tasting. The Living Without/Epicurious recipe, however, served as the ultimate inspiration for the pita below. A number of other suggestions came from other web sites as well. You can make the pita egg-free by using flax meal and hot water plus oil to compensate for the lack of the fat from the egg.

Many pita recipes require the use of a 500° F oven. We are reluctant to run our electric convection oven at that temperature because we are concerned about excessive wear and tear. However, our Weber gas barbeque reaches that temperature or more. As you can see by the photos below, we used a Nordic Ware griddle to bake the pita. If you don't have a griddle, you could use a cast iron skillet or perhaps a baking pan that you don't mind scorching. We haven't tried this yet, but if you don't have a gas barbeque, perhaps baking the pitas under a broiler might produce good results.

Making gluten free pita is almost more about technique. The process is a little messy, but the result is worth it. If there are children around they will really enjoy the process - lots of hands-on.

 

Middle Eastern Pita on the Barbeque (Makes 10 - 11 pita loaves)
Measure Amount Ingredient
1 pinch Sugar
1/2 Cup 110° F Water
1 package or Tablespoon Instant Yeast
     
1/2 Cup Gluten free oat flour
1/2 Cup Millet flour
1 Cup Sorghum flour
1-1/2 Cup Your favorite gluten free flour. Our favorite is Carol Fenster's Original Mix. You could also use 50% high protein bread flour.
3 teaspoons 50% - 50% mix of xanthan and guar gums
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
     
1 Cup 110° F Water
1 Large Egg warmed to room temperature in a water bath if you take the egg from the refrigerator
1 teaspoon (optional) USP or food grade glycerine - Used as a humicant is most UK commercial gluten free pita.
     
1 Tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
    Flour for the work surface

 

Pat the pita dough to make a round pancake

It should be about 6 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. The center should be a bit thinner than the edges.

   

It helps to wear the timer if you are moving about. (Messy)

Bake for approximately 2-1/2 minutes and then flip

   

Place the hot pitas into a sealed plastic bag to cool.

Open the pockets with a knife when the pitas are cool.