Jul 19

Homemade Pita Bread with Tex-Mex Beef Filling


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Succcesssssss …!!

Oh my goodness, I am so stoked right now coz I just made pita bread. How awesome is that?! Me, who can never get bread dough to do anything right, made pita on the first go and it came out perrrrrfect. I knew I watch chef John for a reason. He’s been my digital guru for the past 6 years and I have had a good few successes in the kitchen since.



Today’s attempt was entirely unplanned and unexpected. It was blisteringly hot even though the thermometer only registered 25ºC. Since when have I ever considered 25ºC as “blisteringly hot“? I come from Malaysia, for heaven’s sake, where it is 35ºC everyday … all year round! But there I was, sprawled out on the couch wanting nothing better than to stick my head in the freezer. I’d run a cold bath, except we no longer have one. We ripped it out in favour of a walk-in shower two years ago when we bought this house. I tried playing video games but I got bored very quickly. Next best thing …. watch videos about food.



I have a good few YouTube channels that I subscribe to, and Foodwishes is (obviously) one of them. Whenever there is a new video up I always watch, be it two in the afternoon or two in the morning. It is my culinary education fix. In the past I have made heaps of stuff based on chef John’s recipes and they usually turn out well. His method for oven baked chicken wings has become one of my favourites. Today was simply another awesome how-to video that yielded fantastic results.






What I like about Foodwishes videos is that they are not only fun and entertaining but educational as well. I have learned soooooo much from this man and his online vids, it’s not funny. I started out with his simple muffin recipes, then I moved on to cornbread. After that I made Mac n Cheese and so on. I think I watch Foodwishes vids more for the techniques involved rather than the actual recipes themselves. I never could make béchamel sauce to save my life until I watched chef John do it. The one thing that baffles me tho is the amount of stuff he has to say on his blog site, on top of the stuff he says in the videos. I struggle with my posts on the best of days, trying to make it sound interesting and witty. No fair.



Anyway, back to the pitas. One of the main reasons I begged to have a multi-purpose cake mixer was for the ability to knead dough mechanically. I told R., “Just think of all the bread I can make all day, everyday!”  Errrr …. yeah, I’m sure we’ve all been there before. The enthusiasm was slightly overly optimistic at the time. To date I think I have only ever made bread in the machine three times, mainly because I tend to favour quick-rise soda breads to the doughier types that require kneading. Why? Coz I am scared of those. They intimidate me and I hate failing in the kitchen; all that mess and nothing to show for it. I believe my understanding in the art of baking bread needs to improve. At the moment my skill is still in its infancy … but definitely better than say two years ago. I’ll take the small wins.



Ingredients:  (adapted from Foodwishes)
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 pkt dry active yeast


  • 2 – 3 more cups AP flour
  • 1¾  tsp salt
  • 1½  Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder




I added garlic powder for extra flavour coz I like flavoured breads. If I had cumin seeds I might have used that as well. Method for making the breads is exactly how chef John describes in the video ~ pretty straighforward and not fussy. A word of advice tho … have a bench scrapper handy, it works wonders.




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I kneaded the dough in the machine for about 5 – 10 mins then I turned it out onto the bench and kneaded some more, adding flour as I went along until it was no longer sticky. I have come to realize that when making good bread dough there really is no set time, temperature or texture that you can use to indicate when it is ready. It is all very trial and error. What works for someone else may not work for you, so adjust accordingly. After that just cover, stick it in a warm draft-free place and let the yeast do it’s job. I was tempted to keep peeking at the dough but I steeled myself and got busy with video games for the next two hours. I have a slight online gaming problem. Not the inane Candy Crush type either … more MMORPG. Really helps when you have to kill a couple of hours waiting for bread to rise. In between I also managed to rustle up some Tex-Mex mince beef filling to with the pitas later (see recipe below).





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Once R. got home from work all I had to do was roll out the little dough balls and place them onto a hot cast iron skillet, lightly smeared with oil. Then I waited with baited breath to see if they would puff. AND THEY DID!! Each and every one of them. I must be doing it right! It wouldn’t be enough for me to have made pita breads. To achieve puffage was everything.




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Homemade Pita Bread





Tex-Mex Mince Beef Filling
  • 300 g beef mince
  • 2 red onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp roasted chilli powder
  • 1 pkt Buritto seasoning (any brand: El Paso, McCormick, Santa Maria)
  • 100 mls water + ½ beef boullion cube or use liquid beef stock in equal amounts
  • ½ cup pasatta.
  • Fresh coriander leaves
  • salt to taste



– Sautée the onions in oil until soft and juuuust beginning to colour. Add the garlic.

– Add all the ground spices and a small pinch of salt. Sautée gently to wake up the full flavours of the spices.

– Add the beef and break up the bits. Keep working the meat with the back of a wooden spoon and brown the meat nicely.

– Now add all the Tex-Mex seasoning and mix well to avoid clumps.

– Tomatoes go in next, and cook off some of the acidity.

– Now add in the pasatta sauce, and beef stock.

– Simmer gently until the meat is cooked through and the sauce reduces to a nice thick consistency.

– Taste the sauce and see if you need more salt.

– Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped coriander leaves.


*You can always add black beans or red kidney beans to the mix but I didn’t have any at hand.




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So there you have it, homemade pita bread that definitely tasted way better than any I have bought from a packet in the store. And I think another win in the bread-making department has boosted my confidence another notch. I realize there are no set rules when it comes to making bread. The dough is a living, breathing entity and responds to environmental factors like time of day, temperature, moisture and humidity. It is easy to feel daunted but the idea is to keep doing it; keep kneading and feeling with your hands, seeing with your eyes. I am ready to take on future flat bread challenges and, armed with new found optimism, I shall face those challenges head on. Bring it!



These pita breads we fabulous eaten warm with a filling of spinach leaves, sour cream, my Tex-Mex beef filling and grated cheese. R. ate two in quick succession; always a good sign coz he is quite a fussy eater. The breads were quite filling themselves, and I liked that. It felt like they actually had some substance; wholesome and delicious.




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So there you have it, folks … a bread story with a happy ending. That doesn’t happen very often with me, so I’ll take this one and pin it to my achievement board. I tweeted chef John a photo of my success and he responded saying they “look perfect” and that he felt “so proud”. Gleee!!  *hugs self*




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The world of digital technology is amazeballz, isn’t it? Never in my wildest dreams have I ever considered messaging a famous person in the States, and receiving a direct response minutes later. It seems no one can help but be connected anymore … and that’s a good thing.




~ Enjoy ~


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