I haven’t found as many varied uses for sourdough pita dough as I have for pizza dough, but I do serve it in numerous ways, from stuffing it as a sandwich, to spreading it with goat cheese and savory homemade jam, to scooping up dip. Supple, freshly baked pita bread works best for sandwiches, but a soft or crispy version supports a dip tray.
I shared my Pillowy Sourdough Pita recipe during last year’s Sourdough Month. If you’re just joining the baking fun, you can request sourdough starter in the Sharing fermented starters Facebook group and then follow my recipe to create your first batch of pita bread. I teach this recipe in workshops and recommend it to new sourdough bakers. Multiple brief kneading sessions let you become familiar with the dough’s texture, and the rounds rise impressively for a satisfying first bake.
The hardest part of baking pita bread can be rolling the dough: it’s best to roll it on just one side, and not too thin, so that heat puffs it into a pillow. Rolling on both sides can hinder puffing, and overbaking can cause hardening and cracking – both of which make half-round pockets nearly impossible to fill as sandwiches.
If some of your freshly baked pita rounds stayed flat or became overly crispy, pita chips can rescue your creation. They also revive days-old rounds that threaten to become stale. Yet these chips are so addictive you’ll soon be preparing a full batch of pita rounds, baking them all into chips and gobbling them up bite by crispy bite.
For the crunchiest chips, bake pita twice: once from the raw dough into fresh pita bread and again after it has been sliced into triangles. Let fresh, just-baked rounds cool completely before you garnish and bake them again as chips. Besides herb-and-lemon seasoning, you can sprinkle them with brewer’s yeast or sesame seeds or brush them with honey chili butter or a light smear of pesto.
Twice-Baked Sourdough Pita Chips
Makes about 1 gallon of chips
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
8 rounds of Pillowy Sourdough Pita
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and lemon juice until they begin to blend together. Whisk in the basil, thyme and garlic; let sit for 20 minutes to one hour.
Cut each pita bread round in half, and then slice each “pocket” down the middle so that you have four half-moons per round. Whisk the herb mixture again, and then use a pastry brush to spread it evenly over the pitas. Cut each seasoned half-moon into four triangles. Arrange on baking sheets in a single layer, planning to bake in batches as needed.
Bake at 450°F for five to seven minutes, until the chips are crisp with brown edges. Eat warm or let cool and seal in an airtight gallon container or bag. The chips will keep for up to a week.
Julie Laing is a Bigfork-based cookbook author and food blogger at TwiceAsTasty.com.