Mediterranean cuisine is full of bright and bold flavors: lemon, garlic, herbs, yogurt, beans, grains, and vegetables. These diverse regional ingredients pair exceptionally well with hoppy beers, which enhance those herbal Mediterranean flavors. Try making this very easy Homemade Pita Beer Bread, add some delicious and creamy Beer Hummus, then stuff with Za’atar Roasted Eggplant, roasted asparagus and harissa sauce, maybe some crumbled feta cheese, marinated artichoke hearts and | or marinated chicken, lamb, fish or shellfish to make a flavorful and healthy Mediterranean sandwich. From sandwiches and salads to side dishes and entrees, the building blocks are yours to embellish with this pita bread recipe.
What is Homemade Pita Beer Bread?
Pita bread is a yeast-leavened bread found in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Arabic regions. This flatbread is very unique; as it cooks, it puffs up, from cooking in a high heat oven, creating steam, blowing up the dough into a pillow, resulting in a finished pocket when cut in half. Pita dates back to the 14th century, made with different cereal grains, in wood-fired ovens.
With any bread, flour is needed. This recipe uses a few different flours to increase the flavor, nutrients, and texture of the final bread. I suggest using organic flour when at all possible. A freshly milled flour is also richer in flavor, vitamins and will result in the best final texture for bread making. I am a huge fan of Central Milling, as they are local to me. I first use a Bread Flour with a high protein level to help create a good amount of gluten, giving the Homemade Pita Beer Bread a good chew. I also add Whole Wheat Flour for the color and wheat germ, giving more nutrients than a plain white all-purpose flour. I then use a smaller proportion of Barley Flour that adds an almost nutty flavor, some more beer flavor, and texture. To round out all the flours, I use an ingredient that is used in many Indian breads | crackers, besin flour, or garbanzo bean flour (chickpea) flour. The ratio of these flours gives the finished pita a tender chew, a nutty flavor, and a perfect puff or balloon effect when baking.
To start the yeast off, I also use a Liquid Malt Extract, also called LME in the homebrewing world. This ingredient is also available in most grocery stores, called Pale Malt Extract or Malt Barley Syrup by Eden Foods. This reduced and concentrated wort is made from malted barley mixed with water, mashed to convert the starches into sugars, much like the beginning of any homebrew beer recipe. This Liquid Malt Extract is a wonderful sugar replacement for making loaves of bread, bagels, flatbread, and more. I have another recipe that uses this ingredient and mixes it with maple syrup to make Barley Malt Maple Syrup, perfect for pancakes or waffles. Traditionally honey was used to feed the yeast. I find using barley malt along with the barley flour, creates more beer eccentric flavors that are enhanced when pairing beer with this recipe, after its made.
Most of the liquid for this pita recipe used the Baking with Beer | Cooking with Beer philosophy; using a supportive beer to add malt flavors to the finished bread. I suggest using malt-forward beer styles like an American Brown Ale, English Old Ale or Scotch Ale | Wee Heavy, all adding richness,
Homemade Pita Beer Bread can also be used in so many ways. I love using this recipe with Middle Eastern Falafel, some more Beer Hummus, mixed greens or baby spinach leaves, and a drizzle of Tahini Orange Brown Ale Sauce for a vegetarian | vegan falafel sandwich to die for. Try making some Homemade Za’atar and mixing equal portions with extra virgin olive oil, to make a dip for the pita. To make Pita Chips, cut the pita into 1/6th wedges, brush with garlic-infused olive oil and bake them in a 425°F | 218°C until crisp. Make my recipe for Homemade Gyro Meat to create The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich! Or serve these pitas with Chicken & Turkey Köfte with IPA or Turkish Lamb Köfte with Stout for a Turkish style sandwich.
As fresh pita bread isn’t always easy to find, with this recipe it’s very easy and satisfying to make at home.
Makes: 8 pitas