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Paul B.

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Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:23 pm

Pita bread, usually offered in whole-wheat versions, is just the right size often times for a Pizza-4-1 (that's my term for pizza when I'm not having any company over).

I've tried making pizza this way in the past by simply spreading tomato sauce over the pita and then adding the usual condiments. However, one persistent problem I've had with this method has been the pita edges drying out during baking.

What would you do to retain a certain measure of pliability in the crust?

I'm thinking of wetting the pita with a bit of water before adding the sauce/condiments, but it will likely take some trial and error to figure out to what extent this will be necessary.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Howie Hart » Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:42 pm

I haven't done this recently, but when I did, I would split a single pita into two circles and add the toppings to what was the inside of the pita. This way, a lip forms around the edge, allowing the toppings to be spread close to the edge, thus preventing the drying out.
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Ian Sutton

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Ian Sutton » Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:11 pm

Paul
I've never done this, but used to have pitta bread BLT's a while back (albeit often without the T).
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Robin Garr

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Robin Garr » Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:37 pm

Personally, I wouldn't do it, Paul. You're essentially baking finished bread at high heat, so it's no surprise that the unprotected edge overcooks. Since pizza is largely about the crust anyway, this isn't a place where I'd compromise ... or, alternatively, if I wanted to make a pizza-like thing on a pita when I was in a hurry and feeling uncritical, I'd just accept that it isn't going to be as good as the real thing.

Why not buy some Boboli shells and keep them frozen? It's not a great alternative, but better than pita. Or better yet, make up a batch of good pizza dough, form them into several small crusts, bake them partway, take them out and let them cool, and then freeze them in single-serving bags. When you need them, take one out, top it, and finish it in a hot oven.
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Scott Hinson

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Scott Hinson » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:26 am

My local grocery store has partially cooked pizza crusts for $1.99...kind of bland on their own...so I add a little flavor. I warm some red pepper flakes and black peeper in fry pan under low heat, and add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. I then spred the pepper/oil onto the dough, and sprinkle on some kosher salt. Then I start adding tomato sauce/toppings etc...

If you can find a store that carries them, they are quite handy.

Better than most pizza joints in town...

Scott
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:31 am

Thanks, everyone, so far. I must say that I got the pita-4-pizza idea because it's the right size and shape, and would require the absolute least amount of messing around with dough. I might try pre-soaking one first, and if that comes out abominably, I'll try the half-baked idea (sorry - had to use that one). ;)
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Larry Greenly

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:46 am

I was wondering...

How about brushing on a generous amount of olive oil and seeing if it remains pliable or chewy.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:59 am

Not a bad idea at all, Larry.

I think I might do that just to see.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Howie Hart » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:12 am

Paul - if you split the loaves as I suggested, and put the toppings on, try baking at a much lower temp to prevent the drying out. Since the pita bread is already cooked, all that is necessary is for the toppings to heat up and cheese to melt.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:19 am

Thanks Howie, I will try that for sure.

I bought a whole bag of pitas yesterday but decided I had to freeze them as I'll never use that many in the time period in which they'd still be fresh.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by wrcstl » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:20 am

Robin Garr wrote:Personally, I wouldn't do it, Paul. You're essentially baking finished bread at high heat, so it's no surprise that the unprotected edge overcooks. Since pizza is largely about the crust anyway, this isn't a place where I'd compromise ... or, alternatively, if I wanted to make a pizza-like thing on a pita when I was in a hurry and feeling uncritical, I'd just accept that it isn't going to be as good as the real thing.


Robin,
I agree with you as it sounds like pizza toast. I feel I know more about pizza dough than wine and this one offends my geekdom. The best pizza dough, IMHO, is made, frozen, and then thawed; much better than fresh. I know that doesn't make sense but have proven it many times. With the kitchen so hot and not turning on the oven for over a month we grill pizza on our new gas grill. Heat it to 500 degrees with a pizza stone on the grill top. This is as good as the winter pizzas on a stone in a 500 degree oven. The only difference is that it cooks a little quicker from the bottom and you have to watch a little closer for when it is done. My rec, like you, is to make fresh dough but would freeze it uncooked, not partially cooked.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:51 am

I've not tried the pita but I do use flour tortillas. We have a locally made brand that is almost fat-free and very good. The flour torts make a nice pizza. I put them into a non-stick pan sprayed with some EVOO, Cook a few seconds on each side just until it starts to stiffen, then remove for toppings. Finish under the broiler.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:53 am

Tortillas - now that is something I would never have thought of. Do you know if they make whole-wheat ones? I haven't had a tortilla in ages so I'm out of the loop.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:55 am

Walt, thanks for the advice, and I am sure that to make the real thing you are correct. In fact, I've always wanted to try pizza from a wood oven like I believe I read that you make. Being a wood-charcoal grilling purist, I know where you're coming from! :)
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Mike Filigenzi » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:59 pm

Don't know if they have them out where you are, but there are all kinds of tortilla-like things out here in all kinds of flavors, including whole wheat, sun-dried tomato, spinach, etc. They're used for wraps and such. Haven't had them myself, so I don't have any feel for how they'd work for pizza crusts.

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Larry Greenly » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:20 pm

Paul B. wrote:Tortillas - now that is something I would never have thought of. Do you know if they make whole-wheat ones? I haven't had a tortilla in ages so I'm out of the loop.


Very easy to make if you want a recipe.
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Trudy Schaefer

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Trudy Schaefer » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:14 pm

Ah, Larry, I would love a tortilla recipe. Even with the heavy Latino influence in Denver, all the tortillas I can find in stores are a thick, dry texture. While those served at more authentic Mexican food restaurants, have that toothsome, almost-chewy quality, with a nice thinness.

I've tried convincing some of the restaurants to sell them to me, but they almost always look at me oddly, and make up some unrealistic price for them since they don't really want to be tortilla retailers.

I bought flour that I found that is especially for making tortillas, but felt there must be some little secret to making them that nice pliable texture. Do tell, please, if you know.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Stuart Yaniger » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:26 pm

Paul, if you're after fanst'n'cheep, you can use frozen bread dough. Thaw it, let it rise according to directions, then punch it down and roll it out.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Robin Garr » Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:47 pm

wrcstl wrote:this one offends my geekdom.


You nailed it, Walt! That's it exactly. I guess the thing that puzzles me most about this thread is that Paul, who is possibly one of the most X-treme geeks on the forum when it comes to wine preferences, is willing to accept such a lame substitute for pizza. What's up with that, Paul B? :twisted:
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Karen/NoCA » Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:55 pm

Paul B. wrote:Tortillas - now that is something I would never have thought of. Do you know if they make whole-wheat ones? I haven't had a tortilla in ages so I'm out of the loop.

Yes they make wheat ones, and spinach, and sun-dried tomato, and jaepeno, etc.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:12 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I guess the thing that puzzles me most about this thread is that Paul, who is possibly one of the most X-treme geeks on the forum when it comes to wine preferences, is willing to accept such a lame substitute for pizza. What's up with that, Paul B? :twisted:


You know, Robin, it's basically because I look at pita bread and see the ideal shape and size and texture (when taken out of the bag, that is) for a pizza crust. Personally I don't enjoy doughy, chewy or overly heavy crusts; the pizzas I've ordered and that I've enjoyed most had thin, dry, crispy crusts. I won't even look at a large-chain franchise pizza anymore unless I was starving and had no other option.

I guess that this is a form of X-treem geekery, though: using something not overtly intended for the purpose at hand because it makes for a fast and quick solution that's theoretically mess-free.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Paul B. » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:23 pm

I will have to give the tortilla idea a try, especially if I'm successful in tracking down either the spinach or sun-dried tomato variety. I'd love to serve pizza with a green or orange crust to my next guests ... :P

Part of the whole thing for me, as well, is being able to make one of these in the utter least amount time possible, which is why the circular doughie breads and their kin are so tempting.

But for a planned pizza meal, I agree that a proper crust is best.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Bob Ross » Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:03 pm

Another idea, Paul -- try matzos. I think Otto mentioned this system, and I've found it makes quite a nice compromise. We like our pizza very thin.
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Re: Anyone else use pita bread as pizza crust?

by Andrew Shults » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:59 am

Paul B. wrote:I've tried making pizza this way in the past by simply spreading tomato sauce over the pita and then adding the usual condiments. However, one persistent problem I've had with this method has been the pita edges drying out during baking.

What would you do to retain a certain measure of pliability in the crust?


Cook halfway in the microwave then bake. The bread gets a little soggy in the microwave so the oven (or toaster oven) ends up returning it to its original texture. It also works for reheating real pizza.
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