I was filled with confidence before I attempted this recipe. We made whole grain pitas in class and while not all of those puffed well, we figured out what the problem was — Chef Mitch forgot to add the salt, resulting in lackluster yeast performance. So making them at home would be a breeze, right? I used the pita bread recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baking Companion, and it seemed like it was a foolproof recipe (They won’t puff? Just bake for another minute or two. Still won’t puff? The oven temp must be too low. Boost the temp for the next batch.). Guess what? They just wouldn’t puff. They inflated oh so slightly, but not completely and there really was no pocket inside. Nevertheless, I carried on, mostly because I had counted on the pitas to be the bread for our sandwich dinner. I made the failed pitas into pockets by gently making an incision in the middle of each — not ideal, but it worked. C. proclaimed them perfect (he’d never had tried pitas before) because they stood up to the cheese in his patented American cheese-mesclun-Italian dressing-dill pickle sandwich filling. Actually, all in all, everyone said they loved them. I suspect they were just being kind, but I still appreciate it.
As a postscript, after my failed pitas, I looked at the recipe from class and it was very different from the King Arthur recipe. I think next time I attempt pitas I’ll use the Johnson & Wales recipe instead and see how that goes.