home-made pitta breads


Was watching Paul Hollywood make cypriot pitta breads on BBC and thought I’d make it with my own spin (basically the addition of chilli flakes)

Things to note: do keep an eye on them and check past the 5 minute point as they may be on the cusp of over-baking. I’d say make the dough more wet so that it’s slightly more hydrated when it hits the hot oven as they didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped.

Here’s his recipe in PDF form and in text below:


250g strong white flour

7g sachet instant yeast

20g nigella seeds or black onion seeds

1 tsp salt

160ml/51⁄2fl oz water

2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for kneading

1 tbsp chili flakes

Preparation method

1. In a bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, nigella seeds and salt. Add 120ml/4fl oz of the water and 11⁄2 teaspoons of oil. Using your fingers mix the ingredients together. Gradually add the remaining water and oil until all the flour has come away from the sides and you have a soft dough. (You may not need all the water; the dough should be soft and not sticky.)

2. Pour a little oil onto your work top. Place the dough on top and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning but will form a smooth dough once kneaded. Once a smooth dough is achieved, place it into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover and leave to prove until doubled in size.

3. Preheat the oven to 250C/475F/Gas 9 and place a clean baking tray or baking stone on the middle shelf.

4. When the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Knock the dough back by folding it inwards over and over again until all the air is knocked out. Split the dough into 4-6 equally sized balls. Roll each ball into an oval shape 3-5mm thick. (NB., here I didn’t dust the surface – rather, I oiled it well for this step. This may have made the surface of the pitta too oily that when it hit the oven heat made it crisp up faster than dough had a chance to expand. One for me to experiment further next time.

5. Remove the hot tray from the oven, dust with flour and place the pitta breads on it. You may have to cook them in batches.

6. Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until they just start to colour. Remove them from the oven and cover with a clean cloth until they are cool.



hot cross buns

This recipe yields six but it can easily be doubled as I’ve copied it from a recipe for a dozen (cf., http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/sweet/hot-cross-buns.html )


30g sugar plus 1 tsp

1 level tbsp dried active yeast

225g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

A pinch of the following in powder form: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, mace and nutmeg (OR 1 tsp of mixed spice)

zest from a lime, lemon, and half an orange

50g currants

30g mixed peel

30mL warm milk

1 small egg, beaten

c.20g melted butter or oil

for the glaze: some reduced fruit syrup or 2 tbsp sugar heated with some water and reduced to a syrup


1. First stir one 1 tsp caster sugar into c.75 ml lukewarm water, then sprinkle in the dried yeast and leave it until a good frothy ‘beer’ head forms

2. Sift the flour, salt, zest and spices into a mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar, the currants and mixed peel. Then make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast mixture, the warm milk, the beaten egg and the fat. Now mix it to a dough before kneading

3. Transfer the dough on to a clean surface and knead it until it feels smooth and elastic – about 7 minutes. Now pop it back into the bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for the dough to rise – 60′ should do the trick

4. Then turn it out and knead it again to knock out the air and bring it down to its original size. Divide the mixture into six round portions, arrange them on the greased baking sheet. Leave them somewhere warm again for about 25′ to rise once more, covering again loosely with cling film. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200 C.

5. Bake the buns for about 15 minutes. Then, while they’re cooking, melt the sugar and c. 2 tbsps of water and reduce to a syrup with which to brush the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.