GF: Homemade pita bread & hummus

Yes, I’m alive. Just swamped with paperwork and finals. Semester exams are next week. That means late nights of grading papers and exams and early mornings of meeting students for help. It’s a hectic time of year.

Being gluten-free during these long winter days means even later nights of baking bread or putting together lunches. Sometimes I stay up late baking because it helps me unwind from the day. Last night, for example, I was up grading papers and finally finished at 12:20AM (I started at 7:00PM!). I wasn’t quite tired enough to go to bed just yet – after all, grading is tedious work but not physically exhausting. So, last night I packed my lunch. A great bento box of Singapore noodles (curried rice noodles with vegetables, chicken and shrimp). Oh, yea – that was good!

Bento boxes are a great way to pack a gluten-free lunch for me. First of all, I can pack things in a small divided container (which is perfect for bringing a sandwich, carrot sticks, etc to work in an easy-to-carry container). I can also pack more elaborately in a Mr. Bento, a larger bento with multiple layers. I use the large bentos for days when I know I will be at work for 12+ hours and not able to get home for dinner. I can pack my lunch plus a snack for mid-afternoon. It’s perfect.

I’ve written a little about bento boxes before. I love the egg-molds you can use to make little cars, etc out of hard-boiled eggs. There are some great resources for bento boxes. Check out CookingCute.com for great pictures and ideas for lunches. The best part? The lunches you pack are limitless in ideas. No, not all of her ideas are gluten-free, but it’s great fun to see what everyone packs (Check out this flickr group. And this one. And dont’ stop there because there are many more!) – not to mention how creative the packing is! Check out these flickr photo groups for ideas and inspiration.

If you have a bento and are in need of tips to take care of the one you have, “Biggie” from “Lunch in a Box” has recently posted an awesome “How to Care for your Bento” post that I highly recommend.

So this weekend on a stress-reliever baking expedition, I stepped in to the kitchen and made some tasty thick hummus with chili oil and what does a good hummus need? Why homemade pitas, of course! Taking inspiration from Bette Hagman’s bread book, I made some fabulous mini-pitas that I used in my bento lunch yesterday with chicken salad. (Eating was primary on my mind yesterday, not picture taking – so you are left with just a photo of the pita. lol)

Here’s the modified recipe for you to make your own adaptations and twists too. A hummus recipe? Oh! There are some great ones out there. Please know that you can vary your hummus ingredients easily, only adjusting the amount of liquids you add. We love a thicker hummus than most (although I prefer it a bit thinner than the photo shows but my love likes it thick.) Hummus is EASY to make, doesn’t require exact measurements (please, it’s almost better if you don’t! LOL) But there are a few basics. Here’s a picture of the thick hummus I made for my love.

Thick hummus with chili oil

GF Hummus at Home!
Ingredients:
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 – 3 Tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1/2 – 1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
other seasonings to taste, like: rosemary, roasted red pepper, roasted red onions, etc.
water – add by the Tablespoon until desired consistency – up to 1/3 cup (I didn’t add any water to the one above)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and grind for several minutes until smooth.
  2. Serve with pita bread, corn chips, on sandwiches, on burgers, etc.

I actually used a teeny squirt of agave in ours because the tahini tasted a bit more bitter to me than our regular brand. I only added a teeny bit and my love still gobbled it down (even though he is NOT the sweet-eater at all). See? Easy to adapt and hard to screw up = perfect food.

Here are a few more hummus recipes to get you started. Once you start making and eating homemade hummus, you will never shell out the $4+ dollars for the teeny tub at the grocer again. :)

But now for the yummy bread.

Homemade pita bread

GF Pita Bread
Makes 8 -10 pitas, depending on size

Ingredients:
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup rice flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon gelatin
3 Tablespoons almond meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
-YEAST PROOFING INGREDIENTS (to be added when “wet” ingredients are added)
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons agave nectar (or honey)
-OTHER WET INGREDIENTS (not to be included while proofing)
2 eggs
1/4 hot water
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Proof yeast with agave and warm water. Set aside until quite foamy (3-5 minutes) and while you get the dry ingredients ready.
  2. Add all dry ingredients (sorghum flour through first sugar listed) to mixing bowl and stir together to distribute well.
  3. Heat remaining 1/4 cup of water and add 2 Tablespoons of butter and stir until the butter melts.
  4. Add eggs, hot water/butter and proofed yeast mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until dough comes together. The dough will be somewhat sticky.
  5. Preheat oven to 500F.
  6. Prepare baking sheets by covering them with a silpat or parchment paper.
  7. Grease or oil hands. Take a piece of dough about the size of an egg, and shape it into your pita – about 1/4″ thick and 4-5″ wide/round. Lay the shaped pita on to the parchment or silpat. Repeat until all dough has been shaped.
  8. Let pitas rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. (I have a relatively cool kitchen, so I preheat the oven to heat the kitchen a bit more and then put the bread under a plant light indirectly during rising.)
  9. Once the pitas have risen, bake for 5-6 minutes in a 500F oven. The pitas may slightly brown but will not rise significantly.
  10. Allow pitas to cool on a cookie rack until they can be handled. (Cut into the pita to make a pocket when you want to use it.)
  11. Store in an air-tight container on the counter until you’ve used them all. And if you are making hummus, that won’t be long!

Happy eating!
-Kate

27 comments on “GF: Homemade pita bread & hummus
  1. carrie says:

    Ohh! You beat me to it Kate!! I had planned to come up with a pita bread recipe this week… but no time as of yet! These look delicious!!

    Oh good! I can’t wait to see what you post too, Carrie! That will be fun! It’s pita-round-the GF Blogging World, huh? Must have been a blogging event we all just decided to do without talking, huh? LOL :) – Kate

  2. Glutigirl says:

    Those look beautiful!

    Why, thank you dear GlutiGirl! :)
    -Kate

  3. Natalie says:

    Three different people told me they were making pita bread this week. Was there something I missed? haha I can’t wait to try this.
    Although amaranth flour was NOT on my list today…gosh darn…
    I have never had it before- what makes it a good choice for the pita bread? Thanks Kate! This looks AMAZING!

    =) Thanks for the visit and compliments. :)
    I actually used the amaranth flour to boost the protein and fiber content of the bread. I’m not a fan of the flavor imparted by bean flours, but I would like to boost the nutritional value of my baking. For this reason, I’ve been using more buickwheat flour, teff, amaranth, quinoa, coconut flour, etc.
    How do you boost the value, Nat?
    -Kate

  4. Beth says:

    Your pita bread inspired me to try my hand at tortillas (it’s a little jump, but my mind made it… ha ha). And they came out really tasty! I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to try to pita bread, and had a hankering for Mexican-ish cuisine. :) So, thanks for the inspiration (your blogs are always inspiring!) and if you want to take a look, I just posted about the tortillas, with recipe! :)

    Also, I love hummus! I made some over Christmas to take to my mom’s friend’s Christmas party, and it was a hit (I was a little worried because they tend to be a pizza and wings kind of family, not so experimental in the food area). :)

    ~Beth

  5. Dear Kate,
    I came here because of the hummus, but your blog is beautiful and I’ll gladly send some people here.
    I noticed that you used canned chickpeas, which in my opinion is far from being the best choice. Dry chickpeas are cheaper, more nutritional and taste better (after you soak and cook them of course). Refer to my blog for further information and a proper recipe, and keep on the good work!
    regards,
    ^Shooky, the hummus guy

    Oh shooky – thanks for the visit! =) I know that dried chickpeas are by far cheaper and better… but hummus is a speedy treat for us GF eaters. We spend a lot of time cooking/baking other things that we can’t get conveniently. However, I promise to pick up some dried ones when life eases up a bit and I can spend some time trying that method. -Kate

  6. Natalie says:

    Kate- I have to pass on bean flours. I wish I could use them for things like pita bread, pizza, breads. I use brown rice, sorghum, teff, almond meal- I am trying millet out right now too. Flax seed is a favorite and other boosters like brewer’s yeast too.

  7. carrie says:

    I really like millet flour for boosting protein and fiber kate! You should try it!

  8. Mary Frances says:

    Looks like we made pita bread the same night =) I tried to convert the pita bread recipe from Joy of Cooking, and though it tasted great, it didn’t poof up and make it’s own pocket. Carrie thinks my pizza stone wasn’t hot enough and I think she’s probably right. If I can’t get it to work next time, I’ll just take your approach and cut those pockets in =)

  9. Michelle says:

    This is great! I just saw a recipe on TV that used pita breads and then I come to check out your site and voila! – you have a recipe that I can make now!!!

  10. Kara says:

    I just made the pita for dinner–I even reduced the starch substantially and they still turned out great (per cup of flour I used 1/4 c sorghum, 1/4 c brown rice, 1/4 c teff, 2 tbsp corn, and 2 tbsp tapioca flours). Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Angie Bauer says:

    Kate,
    I am recently GF and unfortunately lactose free as well. Thanks for your GF pita recipe, I am missing pita and can’t find it anywhere. I am planning to try it as soon as I can get the amaranth flour. I have a butter substitue that I hope will be okay in it. I was wondering if you had ever made falafels? I found a couple of recipes that only call for about four tablespoons of flour so I will try a GF flour. Any ideas on the best one for binding? An egg can be added if necessary for binding. With your pita recipe I can getthat falafel sandwich I have been craving since going GF. I am slowly learning to make my favorites without gluten and lactose and it is getting easier.
    Thank you,
    Angie

  12. Michelle says:

    Hi Kate,
    I made your pita bread recipe this week, but instead of making them individually, I spread the batter out on a baking pan so that it was one long chunk of bread, and added fresh rosemary to the top to make it like focaccia. I served the finished product with oil and balsamic vinegar and it was DELICIOUS!!!

  13. Courtney says:

    Hi Kate, I’d really love to try out your recipe since I’ve been wanting to have pit bread (or any good bread for that matter) since I went gluten free. However, I’m also a vegetarian…so I’m wondering if you think it would matter if left out the gelatin or could I possibly use agar agar instead? Thanks! :)

    I think you can easily use agar agar, Courtney. no worries! =) – Kate

  14. Holly says:

    This looks great! Do you think it would work to sub either teff or sorghum flour for amaranth? no local store has the amaranth and I don’t want to wait for mail order!

    -Absolutely. I would use the teff or even a buckwheat flour to substitute for the amaranth. :) Good luck! -Kate

  15. holly says:

    Kate – I made these last night and used the Teff.

    FABULOUS!!! Even my non-gf coworkers are in love with them. Thank you!!!

  16. Tia says:

    Tried it, and love it. Had to make a few alterations, and will have to make a few more, but without this base recipe, I would have probably never ever EVER even attempted pita. Thank you so much :)

    xx Tia

  17. Shari says:

    I just went GF a few days ago and have been DYING for some pita bread! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I know this post was over 2 years ago but I don’t care!

  18. Holly says:

    Kate – I revisited these again last night, using the exact recipe. I finally found amaranth flour, and used white rice flour instead of brown as I had in the past.

    They *FINALLY* look like yours in the picture! They are so soft and inviting! They are pliable enough to split open and use as a pocket too! Seriously fabulous!!!

  19. Thanks for this recipe, as a Greek it’s not right to go without kebabs, and pita bread. These turned out just great.

  20. Mallory says:

    Hi Kate!

    I’m in the midst of making these pitas and I’m quite excited about them…but my dough is so sticky. I can’t shape them even with grease on my hands. Any ideas? For now, I think i’ll just try and spatula it out and see how it works.

    Thanks!

    Mallory

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