Can you believe this is the very last little bit of information we need to construct the perfect falafel pita? Are you excited? I am.
Pita bread looks daunting, but it’s probably one of the easiest breads for new bread makers to try because there’s nearly instant gratification, and even if it doesn’t puff, you have a delicious flatbread to use for gyros, wraps, or individual pizzas. Everyone wins with pita bread.
I hand roll much of my dough, but with pita bread, I will admit to letting my bread machine do most of the work. I add my ingredients, wet then dry, and let the dough cycle run while I do something else. I will include both the hand mixing method and the bread machine instructions below.
This is a total aside before we get to the recipe, but I would not recommend blogging about food while hungry. Looking at my pictures and thinking about a warm fresh-out-of-the-oven pita has my stomach grumbling and there’s still an hour and a half until I meet some girlfriends for lunch. This probably explains the shorter than normal post too… more rambling next week!
Wheat Pita Bread
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- Bread Machine: Place all ingredients in your bread machine, wet first, then dry, and run the dough setting. Then continue with step 3. By hand or stand mixer: If you do not have a bread machine. you’ll want to mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a shaggy dough forms, then knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface until you get a soft, pliable, but not sticky dough. This can be done either by hand or using a stand mixer.
- Let the dough rise, covered, in a warm spot for about an hour.
- Take your bread dough from the mixer (or your bowl) and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Split it into 8 equal parts. Roll out however many fit on your baking stone or cookie sheet and let rise on a piece of parchment paper while you preheat your oven to 500, with the baking stone or cookie sheet inside.
- Sprinkle the pita rounds lightly with some water, slide the parchment paper and pitas onto the stone or cookie sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes until the pitas have puffed and are lightly golden. If you choose not to use the parchment because you have a baking stone, just make sure you can move the pitas easily for transfer from your rolling surface to your baking surface.
- Bake pitas in batches, rolling and sprinkling with water just before baking.
- Once cool enough to handle, stuff with your falafel or filling of choice and enjoy!
We continue our lessons in “why falafel is not a fried hummus and pita cake ball” with today’s lesson on making… falafel.
One kitchen tool I have found absolutely VITAL in making falafel is my food processor. I used to have a bitty little three cup one, which meant that I had to chop things in several batches and THEN mix together in a big bowl. I did this for years, so it’s an option if you must, but life is so much easier with one of the big food processors! If you don’t have one, borrow one if you can. It cuts the prep time for the falafel “dough” down to all of 5 minutes flat.
Falafel, once made, is best fresh, but it will keep a few days in the refrigerator. It never really lasts past 24 hours in our home because I love pretty much any food with a chickpea in it.
Gross confession, I will even eat them cold, rinsed and straight out of a can. I hear some of you
need to share all my odd food quirks with you. You can keep a secret right?judging, but this is another situation where I have no shame. I love chickpeas and apparently, I
My tried-and-true falafel recipe is mostly from the New York Times and you can find it by clicking here: New York Times Falafel Recipe. I’ve included my oh-so-slight modifications below:
- 1 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
- 8-10 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- Scant teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 1 cup chopped parsley or cilantro leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice of one fresh lemon)
- Neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, for frying.
Please click the link above to visit the original recipe for steps. As a side note, you can absolutely bake them if you have a serious aversion to frying! Just preheat your oven to 400 and spray a foil lined pan and the falafel lightly with some cooking oil. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until the falafel are a deep golden brown.
Next week, I’ll share my wheat pita recipe, but you don’t have to wait that long to make the falafel. I enjoy dipping them in the tahini sauce and eating them alone, or adding them to salads with a tahini lemon garlic dressing. They also make a great party appetizer.
This series in falafel is brought to you in a large part by an experience at a Thai food restaurant. The Godfather and I went to dinner at one of our favorite Thai places, but it was a slow evening and the staff had time to chat. It’s not a very large place, so we overheard snippets of their conversation as we ate. At one point, the conversation turned to one of the young girls’ first experience with falafel and our conversation stopped dead as we tuned in. Her friend asked her what falafel was and she rather authoritatively explained. “Falafel is pita bread mashed up with some hummus and deep fried.”
I couldn’t look across the table at the Godfather without bursting out laughing, so my pad thai became veeery interesting for a minute. There’s no polite way to jump into a complete stranger’s conversation, so I let it go, but we were quite amused and appalled.
And then I had to make falafel. Delicious falafel from scratch, with a homemade wheat pita bread and tahini sauce and share with you. Because falafel is not a fried pita hummus cake pop concoction, it is one of the greatest foods on the planet. Period.
So I hope you enjoy this series! We’re starting with the tahini sauce because it’s simple, and you definitely don’t have to wait for falafel to enjoy it! I’d like to tell you I put it on toast and sandwiches, but I love it so much I’ll just eat it with a spoon. No shame here and now it’s on the internet in front of God and everybody. So if you too fall in love with it and eat it by the spoonful, you’re not alone. We’re in good company.
- 1/2 cup jarred tahini
- Juice of one lemon
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced finely
- salt, to taste
- water (optional)
- Put the tahini, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk together. The tahini will thicken as it reacts with the lemon juice. If you want a thick paste, then add salt to taste and you’re done! If you’d like a thinner sauce, go to step two.
- To thin the sauce to your desired consistency, add water, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing well after each addition. I added about 3 tablespoons to mine because I wanted a thinner spread. If I had wanted to drizzle the sauce, I would have added more. The exact amount depends on the brand of tahini you’re using.
- If you haven’t added salt yet, add salt to taste and enjoy! The finished sauce will keep in the refrigerator one week. I can’t tell you if it lasts any longer with certainty because it never makes it past 2-3 days at our house.
This post was updated September 2015 as part of the #ThrowbackThursday photography project where I add delicious new photos to older blog recipes. Enjoy!
It’s the weekend and we shall all celebrate with breakfast! Hooray! Being that the Godfather is not a morning person and, if I’m up really early in the morning I’m usually working, weekday breakfasts are on the simple side. Come the weekend though… oh, the lovely weekend… breakfast is an event! (more…)
I will admit to rolling my eyes a little years ago at Ina Garten when she pulled out homemade stock for the recipes on her show. “Store bought is fine” was definitely my mantra and I couldn’t understand why someone would take the time to make something purchased so easily. That is, until I realized how much easier it was to make your own! It’s also less expensive, more flavorful, and you know exactly what is in your food.
I make stock every few months, storing two bags in my freezer – one with chicken bones and one with vegetable scraps (washed of course). When they are full, I make stock. It’s that simple! I have yet to make beef stock, but for that, I think I’d go to my local grass-fed beef farm stand at the market and buy some bones from them. Easy to do because they’re my booth neighbors at the Vandenberg Village Farmer’s Market on Sundays!
How to Make Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- Empty your bag of frozen chicken bones or vegetables into a large stock pot. You can combine the chicken and vegetables, but I make them separate so I can prepare vegan dishes.
- Fill the pot with water until it is about 2 inches over the vegetables or bones. Add any spices if you wish. Bay leaves, parsley and thyme are common. You may also add salt, but I would keep the quantity small so you can adjust salt as needed in the dishes you cook with the broth later, maybe a good pinch or so if you must.
- Bring to a rolling boil then immediately reduce the heat to barely a simmer, cover and cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.
- Check the flavor. If it’s to your liking, remove the broth from the heat. If it still tastes like water, continue to simmer longer, checking each half hour. If you over-simmer, the broth can become bitter.
- After the broth is ready, allow to cool either over ice, or on a hot pad in the refrigerator before transferring to your storage containers.
- Using a wire mesh strainer, separate the solids in your broth from the broth and discard.
- Ladle or pour the broth into your containers and either store in the refrigerator for immediate use or freeze. Be sure to leave a little room for expansion in the containers you plan to freeze.