Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pumpkin Porter Pita Bread

baked for the Twelve Loaves November 2014 pumpkin theme. 

As noted in an earlier post, I don't eat pumpkin, not pumpkin anything. Forget the traditional pumpkin favorites of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, pumpkin bundt cakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes... really, I mean it, not pumpkin anything. Match that with my love of a challenge and my frugal nature and you can imagine the issue when I found one last bottle of Alaskan Pumpkin Porter hanging out on a garage shelf. I couldn't throw it out. Left over from an earlier Autumn event that bottle sat ignored and gathering dust amidst newly purchased beverages. Though guests reported the brew to be quite tasty, I just couldn't get past the ingredient list of "ale brewed with pumpkin, brown sugar and spices". 

Today I finally popped the top and poured a glass for a taste test. Surprise! The first exploratory sip was fairly pleasant; this was a dark, chewy porter with some flavor muscle and a hint of sweet, undefinable something, a something not pumpkin. Fine, but at 9:20 a.m. what else could I do with the brew besides drink it? Use it in soup or a stew? Bake beer batter brownies? Braise some pulled pork? The Beeroness came to the rescue with her recipe for Homemade Beer Pita Bread, a quick yeast bread that reminded me of this month's #TwelveLoaves baking theme - Pumpkin.  

My KitchenAid made short work of mixing the few ingredients and cranking out the requisite minutes of kneading. The dough ball doubled in under an hour in my 67 degree F kitchen, no surprise since a full package of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) was working away on 2 1/4 cups of flour. Divided into eight pieces, the dough rolled easily into six-inch disks - how easy could it be?! 

Each Pita round cooked in mere minutes in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop and bubbles appeared like magic. I'd make a double batch next time just for the fun of watching those gas bubbles puff up and expand.

I eagerly tore apart the first pita, checking first for easy separation of top and bottom. Success! Next came a tentative nibble, taste testing for any pumpkin flavor. Nope, not even a hint of the dreaded pumpkin taste, just a pleasant, semi-sour tang. Finally I added a slather of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt to the still warm pita and finished it off, quite pleased with the non-pumpkin tasting Pumpkin Porter Pitas. They made terrific lunch sandwich containers, firmly chewy and holding together up to the last bite. 

Would this be pumpkiny enough to qualify for the November #twelveloaves baking challenge? More pumpkiny than my pepita-topped sourdough dinner rolls (link)? Maybe... we'll see what that group of inspired bakers thinks (if anyone leaves a comment).

Alaskan Pumpkin Porter Pita Bread
adapted from a recipe on
Yield: 8 six-inch pita rounds

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) rapid rise yeast
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1 cup Alaskan Pumpkin Porter
1 tsp salt

  1. Use a stand mixer with a dough hook; add the flour, yeast and pumpkin spice (if using) and mix until combined.
  2. Pour the beer into a microwave safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds; use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature; nuke in short burst until the beer just reaches 120 to 125 degrees F. No higher or you might kill the yeast.
  3. Add the warmed beer to the stand mixer; use medium speed and mix to combine. Add the salt while the mixer is running.
  4. Bump the speed to high and beat until the dough is well-kneaded, smooth and pliable, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let sit in a warm space until doubled in size. This might take up to an hour.
  6. When doubled, place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Use a bench scraper and cut into 8 equal pieces.
  7. Roll a piece of dough into a 6-inch circle. One at a time repeat with the remaining pieces.
  8. Use a small cast iron skillet; lightly oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add one rolled dough circle to the pan and cook until the bottom is lightly browned and air bubbles pop the top in places, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes to cook the pita through.

Note: If the pita browns too quickly, threatening to burn, turn the heat down or use a flame tamer (heat diffuser) to adjust the heat.

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and run with the help of Heather of girlichef, which runs smoothly with the help of our bakers. Our host this month is Renee from Kudos Kitchen by Renee, and our theme is Pumpkin. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s tempting selection of #TwelveLoaves Apple Breads!


  1. I am not part of Twelve Loaves but if I were I would give this recipe a big thumbs up!! These are going on my to try list for sure.

    1. Thanks for the big thumb up, Wendy, and for taking the time to leave a comment.


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