Friday, June 5, 2009

Homemade Hummus and Pita Bread

I have recently begun a new love affair.....with Hummus! One of our favorite new casual spots to eat in town features their homemade hummus and freshly baked, warm pita bread on their appetizer menu. So recently, I began my quest to try and replicate both.

Of all the recipes for hummus that I have tried recently, my favorite includes roasting the garlic cloves for a rich, mellow flavor.

When using olive oil to garnish your hummus, buy the best extra virgin olive oil you can afford!

When I first started making hummus, I was buying pita bread at the store. Tired of paying almost a dollar apiece for pita rounds, I quickly tried to research recipes for pita bread too!

Since I am a big fan of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes, I decided to try making pitas with the 'Master Recipe' or boule. I had a batch already made in my refrigerator ( which I almost always have) so I was ready to rock and roll!

Having researched homemade pita on the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes website , I read through all the comments and came across one that mentioned making the pitas in a covered, non-stick pan rather than in the oven. It worked like a charm for me!

I was able to make beautifully puffed pitas in no time at all! I cooked them in the pre-heated pan (over medium heat) with a cover, for about 2-3 minutes per side. The cover on the pan traps the steam to help them puff up. Another tip, wipe out the pan after making each pita, as the flour tends to burn.

Through trial and error, I found that if I rolled out the rounds of dough too thinly, they didn't poof up quite as well and I didn't get a nice 'pocket'. The pitas taste best the same day but are easily frozen for future use.

I hope you give homemade hummus and pitas a try!

The Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf)

Note:  You can make the Pita bread any time after mixing the batch of dough (recipe may be halved).
From Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method

Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100 degrees F.
Add yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl or, preferably, in a resealable, lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or food-grade bucket. Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.

Mix in the flour–kneading is unnecessary: Add all of the flour at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, by gently scooping up flour, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula; don’t press down into the flour as you scoop or you’ll throw off the measurement by compressing. Mix with a wooden spoon, a high-capacity food processor (14 cups or larger) fitted with the dough attachment, or a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook until the mixture is uniform. If you’re hand-mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the flour with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don’t knead. It isn’t necessary. You’re finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes, and will yield a dough that is wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of its container.

Allow to rise: Cover with a lid (not airtight) that fits well to the container you’re using. Do not use screw-topped bottles or Mason jars, which could explode from the trapped gases. Lidded plastic buckets designed for dough storage are readily available. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), approximately 2 hours, depending on the room’s temperature and the initial water temperature. Longer rising times, up to about 5 hours, will not harm the result. You can use a portion of the dough any time after this period. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature. So, the first time you try our method, it’s best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or at least 3 hours), before shaping a loaf.

On Baking Day: The gluten cloak: don’t knead, just “cloak” and shape a loaf in 30 to 60 seconds. First, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal (or whatever your recipe calls for) to prevent your loaf from sticking to it when you slide it into the oven. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1-pound (grapefruit-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it’s not intended to be incorporated into the dough. The bottom of the loaf may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere during resting and baking. The correctly shaped final product will be smooth and cohesive. The entire process should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds.

Rest the loaf and let it rise on a pizza peel: Place the shaped ball on the cornmeal-covered pizza peel. Allow the loaf to rest on the peel for about 40 minutes (it doesn’t need to be covered during the rest period). Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise during this period; more rising will occur during baking (“oven spring”).

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450°F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other shelf that won’t interfere with the rising bread.
Dust and slash: Unless otherwise indicated in a specific recipe, dust the top of the loaf liberally with flour, which will allow the slashing knife to pass without sticking. Slash a 1/4-inch-deep cross, “scallop,” or tic-tac-toe pattern into the top, using a serrated bread knife

Baking with steam: After a 20-minute preheat, you’re ready to bake, even though your oven thermometer won’t yet be up to full temperature. With a quick forward jerking motion of the wrist, slide the loaf off the pizza peel and onto the preheated baking stone. Quickly but carefully pour about 1 cup of hot water from the tap into the broiler tray and close the oven door to trap the steam. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Because you’ve used wet dough, there is little risk of drying out the interior, despite the dark crust. When you remove the loaf from the oven, it will audibly crackle, or “sing,” when initially exposed to room temperature air. Allow to cool completely, preferably on a wire cooling rack, for best flavor, texture, and slicing. The perfect crust may initially soften, but will firm up again when cooled.

Store the remaining dough in the refrigerator in your lidded (not airtight) container and use it over the next 14 days: You’ll find that even one day’s storage improves the flavor and texture of your bread. This maturation continues over the 14-day storage period. Refrigerate unused dough in a lidded storage container (again, not airtight). If you mixed your dough in this container, you’ve avoided some cleanup. Cut off and shape more loaves as you need them. We often have several types of dough storing in the refrigerator at once. The dough can also be frozen in 1 pound portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking day.


Here is my recipe for hummus. I have adapted this recipe from many different recipes and it's my favorite combination of flavors. Don't be put off by the high price of a jar of tahini at the store. It lasts forever in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3 cups
Printable Recipe

1-1/2 cups uncooked chickpeas (about ½ pound)
1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid from chickpeas
1/3 cup Tahini paste (start with less and keep tasting!)
8 cloves garlic, roasted
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
A splash or two of Tabasco
Juice of one-two lemons (I like it lemony)
1/4-1/2 cup extra light olive oil (not extra virgin)
Salt to taste

To garnish:

Extra virgin olive oil
Smoked paprika to taste

Soak dry chickpeas overnight in a bowl filled with enough water to cover by at least an inch above peas. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. The next day, drain the chickpeas and place in saucepan with enough fresh water to cover. Cook according to package directions until soft. Reserved some of the cooking liquid then drain.  Discard any pea shells that have come off. I like to rub the cooled chickpeas between my hands to remove as many shells as I can.

While chickpeas are cooking, rub whole garlic cloves with a little olive oil and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 8 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Allow to cool, then remove skins.

Combine all ingredients except for garnish in food processor. Keep adding olive oil until until smooth spreadable. Adjust seasonings.

Sprinkle with olive oil and paprika and serve with homemade pita bread.


  1. Your recipe for hummus sounds delicious. Your pita pockets look beautiful. Between the two I'd say you have a blue ribbon post. Have a wonderful day.

  2. I haven't had lunch yet and boy are you making me hungry! Wow, hummus is a favorite and I will try this method with roasting the garlic. You go beyond creative making your own pitas, they look fantastic. Loved the flashback too - my first peony opened last night ;)

  3. I have to try those GORGEOUS Pitas!!! On the stove? I will rearead..I am at the office reading quickly..The blooms are beautiful too..I love Hummus Susan..And I bet the pitas kick it up a huge notch..have you tried Mary's naan too? I did a post that had it at the's good too! Thanks as always for sharing great recipes and ideas..
    Tes photos sont belles aussi!

  4. I am not eating carbs the past two weeks so your pita photo has me going a little nuts. I was in a middle east eatery outside of DC this past March and they were making them fresh. I honestly think I ate 5 or 6 and wanted to buy some to take back home. Hubby thought I was nuts at how I was so excited over Pita's. I would love to make my own but wonder how many I would eat when no one was counting? Thanks for sharing the recipe and if I dream of Pita bread tonight it is your fault:)

  5. I love this post, Susan, hummus and pita are favorites in our house. We also eat more than our share of pita and tzatziki. And I can definitely relate to paying $1.00 a piece for good pita.

    I can see where roasting the garlic would enhance the flavor of the hummus.

    Thanks for two great recipes and the pita tutorial.

    Beautiful pictures of the peonies. I'm sure the fragrance was amazing.

  6. Mmmmmm... I love a really garlicy hummus with really good olive oil.

    Thanks for posting this recipe!

  7. I've always wanted to make pita bread and your instructions are just what I needed to give it a try. Love the hummus too. Next I want to try my hand at falafel. Thanks, Susan.

  8. Your pita bread turned out great!! I have seen so much about this bread in 5 minutes that I am going to have to give it a try one of these days.

  9. We love pita bread and eat a lot of it...but have never tried making it. I may just give it a try now, tho. Thanks!

  10. Thank you so much I have got to give this a try. I copied your hummus recipe and am going to try pita too. It's so nice to meet you
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  11. You're my hero in so many ways!! I just have to try the hummus and pita homemade. I am inspired especially since I can do this with the A in 5 dough. I need to reread carefully. I think I will try this weekend. The peonies are just lovely!!! I have several blooming now. Your garden flashback is perfect for the FF event..we need more flowers in the world!! :-) Thanks for joining me this week.

  12. Suzy, said it right, my hero :) You really are inspiring, those pita's and the hummus, and the photo's of them, well, they are just fantastic. So this post is really a fantastic Foodie Friday. Lot's of F's for you - fantastic, fabulous, first-rate!

    Pretty flashback! Beautiful flowers!

  13. Beautiful photos Susan! Love hummus with veggies ... not big on pita bread, but yours looks gorgeous. Santa Chiara is my favorite oil from Costa dei Rosmarini ... fruity and buttery.

  14. Your hummus looks great! I have always wanted to try making the pita bread. Your recipe is great. Thanks for sharing:)

  15. Homemade hummus and bread! Wonderful combination.

  16. I love hummus, and your pitas look perfect!

  17. I truly appreciate all of your kind comments! Thank you ♥

  18. You made the pita bread look easy! Yummy post...
    Having a good weekend?
    ~Really Rainey~

  19. yours look beautiful.... and I bet they taste good too! I hope you had a happy Foodie Friday and are having a great weekend ~ Susan

  20. Your pitas look wonderful..I am allergic to garlic, so I have to skip that.
    The peonies look so pretty!

  21. Great recipes and great pictures!

    I just want to try those pitas!!!

    I've just made hummus myself but had no sesame cream so I used "petits suisses" a kind of soft cheese... I love hummus!

  22. I will be trying this pita! I make my own hummus also Susan, it's great to have something in the fridge for a quick lunch or snack. Thank you for all your tips on the pita.

  23. You are such a wonderful cook! I love the idea of roasted garlic for hummus, and the homemade pita must be out of this world good!
    XX 00

  24. I often make hummus but I've never tried pita breads ... I should because I love them ... Yours are just perfect !
    Have a nice day

  25. Susan, the hummus and pita had to taste as good as they look... and they look delicious! Nice pics! I'm very tempted to try these.

  26. Homemade pita bread? That certainly looks like it is well worth the trouble, but as you've portrayed, that's not very much trouble at all is it. Thanks for two great recipes, one of which is a particularly nice surprise.

    tom | tall clover farm

  27. Hummus with roasted garlic must be ssssoooo delicious!

  28. I am loving your blog!!! Your flowers are amazing...and I have never tried to make homemade pita...never even dawned on me..I buy them frequently, but find that they get mold very quickly :(...this is a keeper! Thanks again.

  29. That looks delicious! I love hummus, thank you for the recipe! Looking forward to discovering your other recipes! x


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