Thursday, April 7, 2011

Truly perfect pita bread with curried chicken salad

I have a favorite curry chicken salad that I make pretty frequently in the summer. Hubby and I both love it. But it requires pita bread, and I often find that the stuff from the supermarket is dry and tough. I tried making my own, and it didn't go very well. The dough was sticky, the process was challenging, the flavor was so-so, and the texture was similar to the store-bought bread.

I asked on Twitter for great pita recipes, and Joanna immediately responded that I should check out Dan Lepard's recipe.

Happy day, this recipe truly made perfect pita bread. I mixed the dough one evening, subbing in white whole wheat flour for the plain flour that was called for. The mixing and kneading process was easy; the dough was a dream. I let it rise in the fridge overnight. The next afternoon when I was ready to prepare supper, I divided and rolled the dough. Again, it was so easy. These pitas were gorgeous and delicious, the perfect vehicle for my favorite chicken salad. In the past, we've always had to slather mayo on the pita (in addition to the mayo in the chicken salad) to make the bread palatable...completely unnecessary with this soft pillowy pita. The kiddos didn't like the chicken salad, but the little girl ate two pitas with butter and the little guy ate his with salami and mayo.

Easy and delicious...this will be my go-to pita recipe from now on!

Perfect pita bread
adapted from Dan Lepard

300 g bread flour
200 g white whole wheat flour
3 g instant yeast
12 g superfine sugar
5 g table salt
17 g safflower oil
325 g warm water (about 85 F)

1. Mix the flours, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Add the oil and the water to make a soft, sticky dough.
2. Cover the bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Knead the dough on an oiled counter for 10 seconds, until smooth.
4. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes; knead for 10 seconds; rest for 10 minutes; knead for 10 seconds.
5. Cover the bowl and let rest for at least 30 minutes, or put it in the fridge overnight.
6. Heat the oven to between 480 F and 500 F (I heated mine to 490 F). Once preheated, place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.
7. Divide the dough into 100 g pieces (I ended up with 9 pitas), shape them into balls, and let them rest for 15 minutes.
8. Roll the dough balls into circles about 6 inches in diameter (about 1/2 cm thick). If they resist and bounce back, let them rest for a couple of minutes and then try again.
9. Bake the pitas 2 or 3 at a time for 4 or 5 minutes until they've colored slightly and puffed up. (DL says to remove the tray from the oven, but I found this unnecessary. I just opened the oven, pulled the tray out slightly and tossed a few pitas onto it...easy!)
10. Remove the pitas from the oven with tongs and keep them under a cloth until ready to eat.

Curried chicken salad
adapted from Cooking Light

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp minced ginger
2 - 2 1/2 cups skinless roasted chicken, diced (I used half of a supermarket roast chicken)
1 cup seedless green grapes, cut in half
1/4 c dried apricots, diced
4 green onions, thinly sliced (a little more than 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
several large lettuce leaves (I used romaine)
4 - 6 pita breads

1. Combine mayo, orange rind, orange juice, curry powder, and ginger in a small bowl; whisk until smooth.
2. Combine chicken, grapes, apricots, green onions, cashews, and parsley in a large bowl.
3. Pour sauce over the top and stir to combine.
4. Serve in pita bread with large lettuce leaves.


  1. These look wonderful!! I love the pic with the fluffy, pillowy looking plate full of pitas. Maybe I'll try these next week to use with falafel and then use the leftover pitas for chicken salad for my lunch. I love a good chicken salad!!! Hubby won't touch it, but that's OK:)

  2. Great picture! I will make both the pita bread and the chicken salad - both recipes sound really yummy!

  3. What fabulous photos. I must try that salad too - looks absolutely gorgeous Abby !

  4. Ooh la la those look wonderful. I am going to check this out as I love love, love Dan Lepard's recipes. Thanks for the suggestion. There is hope for the Little People...eventually they eat EVERYTHING. Almost.

  5. Ok, that does it. Now that you AND Joanna AND Sally have all raved about this recipe, I have to try it! Your photos are almost edible, Abby! :)