pita dough made into hamburger buns (BBBwB)

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summary: recipe for hamburger buns made with pita dough and baked in the barbecue; small ‘hot’ red pepper from the garden; YeastSpotting post; Bread Baking Babes wannaBe; information on Bread Baking Babes; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Once again, I am a

Bread Baking Babe/Buddy wannaBe (BBBwB)

hamburger buns made with pita dough Yes. I have failed once more in my attempt to become a BBB. I was sure I’d manage to do it this time. I’ve made pita zillions of times. And the BBBs’ chosen recipe for pita from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensperger is virtually the same as the recipe I use. The only marked difference is that I use regular whole wheat flour instead of atta (or whole-wheat pastry flour as suggested by Hensperger’s recipe).

So what’s my excuse this time?

We’re completely distracted by our vegetarian burgers. The other day we decided to make them again, using 3 different kinds of beans: black, kidney and garbanzo.

(click on image to see larger view and more photos)

vegetarian burger mixture Because we decided around noon to make the burgers and didn’t have any of Susan’s hamburger buns left, we decided we’d make pita on the barbecue.

I immediately mixed and kneaded pita dough so it would be ready for shaping at dinner time.

See??? Even though I didn’t use THEIR recipe, I was so close to becoming a BBB!! (I know. It isn’t 10 September yet. But let’s get real. I KNOW I’m not going to get things together in time to make pita. Besides, we don’t have room in the freezer.)

It was quite warm that day so the dough rose in no time. By 5:00, I had to push it down. And at 6:00, it was ready to be shaped. We had toyed with the idea of shaping the discs early and letting them rise a little before baking and then I suddenly decided we nnnneeeeeeeded to have real hamburger buns and that we could bake them on the stone in the barbecue.

Couldn’t we? Why not?

But the stone was nixed: T decreed that that it would be much easier to turn the buns around if they were on a cookie sheet.

Here is what I did:

Pita made into Hamburger Buns
based on our recipe for pita

makes 8 buns (or pita)

  • 1 c (250ml) water*
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c (250ml) whole wheat flour**
  • 1½ c (375ml) unbleached all-purpose flour**
  • sesame seeds


  1. Pour the water into a largish bowl. Whisk in the yeast until it is dissolved and the mixture looks a little like cream has been added to the water. (If the kitchen is cold, make sure the water is lukewarm – baby bottle temperature. If the kitchen is warm, the water temperature can be quite cool.)
  2. Stir in oil and brown sugar. Add both flours and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough is formed. Cover the bowl and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Wash and dry your mixing bowl. This prepares the rising bowl AND gets your hands clean.
  4. Hand knead the dough for 8-10 minutes til the dough is smooth and silky.
  5. Put the dough in the clean mixing bowl. (It is entirely unnecessary to oil the rising bowl!) Cover and allow to rise in a no-draft place for 1 to 1½ hours til it has doubled. When the dough has doubled, you can shape the dough. A good way to tell if the dough has doubled is to wet your finger and poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn’t risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays in exactly the same configuration and the dough remains otherwise intact, it is ju-u-st right.
  6. Shaping: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide it into 8 pieces. Make 8 balls. Lightly flour and cover with a damp tea towel and let sit for about half an hour. (or don’t bother waiting and just go ahead and shape them right away.) At this point, you can choose whether to turn this dough into pitas or buns. Click here if you are making pita.
  7. if you are making buns:
    To shape the buns, pick up each ball and keep pulling it in on itself to make a tight round (but not so tight that the outer skin breaks). Place the shaped round seam side down well apart a parchment covered cookie sheet.
  8. Pour some sesame seeds into a saucer. Pick up one of the shaped rounds and using a pastry brush, gently brush the top with water. Turn the round over and roll it in the sesame seeds. Place the round back on the parchment paper, sesame seed side up. Repeat with the other seven.
  9. Once the rounds are all covered in sesame seeds, gently press them down with the flat of your hand to form discs. (Make sure none of the discs are touching each other.) Cover the pan with a damp tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise again to almost double (about an hour). To test, flour your finger and press gently on the edge – it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.
  10. baking:
    If you are using the barbecue:
    Preheat the barbecue to high. Just before putting the buns in the barbecue, spray the tops liberally with water. (oooops!!! I forgot to do that. It didn’t seem to make any difference.) Place the tray over direct heat, close the lid of the barbecue and bake for about 8 minutes, turning them once to account for uneven heat in the barbecue. Then move the tray over to cook with indirect heat (lid down again) until they’re done (about another 8 minutes)… our gas barbecue can be turned off on one side. edit 18 June 2011: Watch for hotspots and move the tray around to keep the buns from burning on one side.

    If you are using the oven: Twenty minutes before you are going to bake, turn oven to 400F. Just before putting the buns in the oven, spray the tops liberally with water. Put the tray in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake the bread for about 15 minutes until they are hollow sounding on the bottom. You will probably have to turn the tray around once to account for uneven heat in the oven. If the buns aren’t quite done after 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350F and bake for another 5 minutes or so.

  11. When the buns are done, allow them to cool completely on a well ventilated rack. Wait til they are cool before cutting them. They are still continuing to bake inside!***
*Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated.

Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Water from the hot water tap sits festering in your hot water tank, leaching copper, lead, zinc, solder, etc. etc from the tank walls… the higher temperature causes faster corrosion. Of course, saying that it is unsafe to use water from the hot water tap might be an urban myth, but why tempt fate? Heat the water in a kettle or microwave and add cold water until it is the correct temperature (use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature!)

** The all-purpose flour is “No Name” unbleached (about 11.5% protein). The whole wheat flour is “Five Roses” (about 13% protein).

*** If you wish to serve warm buns, reheat them after they have cooled completely. To reheat, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the buns in the hot oven for five minutes.

If you are baking pita

  1. Using a wooden rolling pin, roll each ball into a flat disc – about 6 inches in diameter and 3/8 inches thick. It’s best to keep the discs apart but if you’re skilled, you can lightly flour them and stack them.
  2. Baking:
    If you are using the oven: 30 minutes before baking, put baking stone on the middle rack of the oven. Turn the oven to 500F. When the oven is fully preheated, place the discs directly on the hot stone. Turn the oven down to 400F. Bake the discs for about 5 minutes or until they are lightly golden and puffed. (It really does take only 5 minutes.) You might want to turn them over half way through cooking but it isn’t really necessary.

    If you are using the barbecue: Preheat the barbecue to high. Place each disc directly on the grill. Close the lid of the barbecue. Cook for about 2 minutes or so on one side. Using tongs, turn over when they have puffed. Continue to cook on the other side til they seem done. (complete baking takes about 5 minutes) Put the finished pitas into a basket.

vegetarian burgers What great hamburger buns!! Or, if you prefer, “shamburger” buns. We think they’re even better than the ones with egg and milk. And the 3 bean burgers were spectacular.

We loved the slices of this red pepper (from our garden!!!) in the burgers.

pepper And we also loved having corn on the cob. Great corn on the cob too. Cooked on the barbecue so that some of the kernels get a bit caramelized.

You can see why we keep getting distracted into making burgers, can’t you? And as long as it’s barbecue weather, we really can’t stop….

Bread Baking Babes/Buddies wannaBe

Ilva (Lucullian Delights) is the host of August 2008’s Bread Baking Babes task. She wrote:

Thursday, August 28, 2008


This month we were at loss with what to bake, very strange in this group of driven bread bakers, so I suggested that we would make pita bread […snip…] I have never made pita bread in my life, I love eating it but I never really got the nerve nor time to bake it so I just picked the recipe that had actualized pita to me recently, Country-Style Whole-Wheat Pita from Beth Hensperger’s The Bread Bible. […snip…] It has a lot of texture, great flavour and it is really easy to make, I had no problems at all to do it even though I feel like a 2nd rate Bread Baking Babe because I still haven’t managed to get going to get a baking stone and I think that my pitas would have been even better using one. […snip…]

[T]hose of you who would like to join us and be a Bread Baking Buddy should bake the pita, post about in on your blog and then send [Ilva] the link to the blog post before midnight (your) on the 10th of September [2008].

For complete details on how to become a BBB, please go to:

Take a look at the Bread Baking Babes’ pitas:



Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of blog posts having to do with bread. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:


This post is partially mirrored on The Fresh Loaf


This entry was posted in baking, BBBabes, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, equipment and techniques, food & drink, posts with recipes, whine on by .

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6 responses to “pita dough made into hamburger buns (BBBwB)

  1. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    Several things here Elizabeth:
    1 You are funny and a lot of fun.
    2 As Susan (WildYeast) reaffirmed for me, pita doesn’t not have to have a pocket.
    3 A pita by any other name is a hamburger bun. or is that a rose?
    4 Wannabe my foot or is that Wannabe my pita burger!

  2. ejm Post author

    In the past, we’ve shaped pita early and made puffy pitas (with pockets) to use as hamburger buns. But I don’t think these hamburger buns could be described as anything but hamburger buns. Even though it’s nice of both of you to say that they might be considered to be pitas.

    in re: “pita doesn’t not have to have a pocket
    Did Susan really say that, Tanna? I love the double negative. (But it’s hurting what’s left of my mind.) Now let me see…

    doesn't not = does

    Therefore a pita DOES have to have a pocket. That proves it then. Susan is generally right about these things. Because there were no pockets, I did not make pitas. :whee:


  3. Jude

    Buns or pita, pocket or no pocket, I’d love to try some of your breads. You’re pretty far from being a wannabe.
    Fun post :)

    I don’t know Jude. Wait til you see the “rosemary focaccia” I attempted last night. Then you’ll know the definition of “wannabe”! -Elizabeth

  4. Susan/Wild Yeast

    I’m impressed that you succeeded in baking these on the barbecue. I’ve never been successful with that. Those burgers on their buns with all the fixings look delicious!

    We were very excited about managing to bake the buns on the barbecue too, Susan. Our only regret was that we hadn’t tried doing it before. (And have I thanked you enough for your brilliant method of attaching the sesame seeds to the tops of the buns? It’s the best!) -Elizabeth


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