Almost perfect Falafel (No. 2 in an occasional series)


Today’s packet mix is falafel!

Brian mixed up a batch of Dan Lepard’s perfect pitta bread dough from that seminal work, ‘The Guardian Guide to Baking’  24 November 2007 –  this is the recipe that almost qualified for the title of ‘the easiest bread in the world’.

If you haven’t read this it begins like this

Biting into a tender, freshly made and baked handmade pitta reminds me how stale and tough the shop ones are…

I was hooked neatly with that one sentence and I’ve been baking bread ever since. There’s no turning back once you’ve made your own pitta bread. So don’t try this at home, or you will unleash the daemon baker within. You have been warned.

I  got back home, having just paid out a small fortune for some flea and lungworm treatment for two dogs for six months, and was frankly relieved at the thought of a low cost simple supper.

Pitta dough

I rolled up my sleeves, scaled the dough, left it a bit, put the oven on at 250 º C with a tray inside heating up.  Dug the falafel packet out of the cupboard – back to the pitta dough, rolled and shaped into ovals and rounds and baked two at a time for about four minutes.

.Pitta rising in the oven

While the pitta were baking,  Brian did some magic involving two teaspoons, and the falafel mixture and we got a mini production line going. Falafel in the pan, count to ten, flip the falafel, count to twenty, flip the falafel out. Check the oven, two more pitta in and so on; you can have two cooks in the kitchen and live to tell the tale.

Tender freshly baked pitta Dan Lepard

We tucked the pitta into a basket with a tea towel to keep them warm, made some salads from whatever was in the fridge: cold potatoes in yoghurt and mayo; onion salsa; a few salad leaves for good luck, found the beer and the all important chilli sauce and that was that.

Pitta falafel pocket supper

Packet mix felafel ?  Well, sometimes I just can’t quite resist the idea that, ‘ just add water’  might just work.  I would love it to work all the time.  Hey, it works when you make bread after all: flour, leaven, salt and just add water.


in this case…..


170 grams of water plus this packet and a wok half-full of  hot rapeseed oil and we had a dish full of lovely falafel, crispy outsides, soft, light and spicy insides, and no one’s complaining at all, somehow I bet we will get another packet next time we go to the shops.

And I think there were a handful of those brownies in the freezer for later too.

I’m thinking about those cake mixes now. Do any of them work? Might have to try one soon…


Related Post – these only happen on the odd Thursday by the way  : Packet Bread Mix

36 thoughts on “Almost perfect Falafel (No. 2 in an occasional series)

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I still buy pita bread – I might need to rethink, given how you and Sally are both so happy with this recipe! We’ve tried falafel mix too – it IS so easy! The guys at the Lebanese warehouse told us to add a little bicarb to the mix to make it puffier.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Gill makes it with her sourdough starter, she is a big fan too! Did you like the falafel? This mix has bicarb in it. Would you like to see the ingredient list?
      Falafel Mix Ingredients

  2. sallybr

    Love Lepard’s pita bread, made only once but you are right, one of the easiest breads to make, and worked even in my toaster oven…

    I’ve never made falafel before, but always wonder about the boxed mix, so it was nice to see your post about it… made me a little hungry, actually ;-)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      You live in a town with a brand new fountain, and endlessly entertaining traffic, fabulous flowers, and I bet some awesome food! I’m the one who should be jealous :D

  3. heidi

    I love falafel mix!
    I tried making my own from scratch and they were ok but not great.
    Then I bought the mix- easy and perfect every time.
    I’m a big fan. :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I’m hoping that someone will turn up and say ‘this is how you make perfect falafel from scratch’ but until then…. great to hear you’re a falafel fan too Heidi :)

      1. Jeremy

        I’ve made falafels from scratch — with chick peas and broad beans — and to tell the truth, you don’t want to bother. Unless, of course, you simply want to be able to say you’ve done it. I think I used Claudia Roden’s recipe. But I have to try the DL pita soon. so many people rave about it.

  4. Abby

    I’ve had DL’s pita recipe bookmarked ever since you told me about it…it will be made very soon, I just know it! Your dinner looks delish!

  5. Melanie Corley

    Oh my, what wonderful looking pita bread!! I’m jealous too! I just had ham loaf for dinner and you got to eat falafel. I’ve never tried it before, but I’m sure I’d like it. There is a little place in New York City that’s supposed to have the best falafel, but seeing as I’m not going to get there anytime soon, I wouldn’t hesitate to make it from a mix. Do you ever have any pitas leftover? Do they freeze well?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hi Melanie! Maybe Heidi knows the name of a good mix brand in the US?

      These are the perfect snack/street/anytime food. I suspect there are lots of variations in how they are made. I’ve had very dry crunchy ones as well as these more airy ones. I love them all. Often served with those long pale green mild pickled chillis, so you get a combination of chilli sauce, pickle juice, tahini sauce dribbling elegantly down your chin and onto your jacket, if you dare to eat them walking down the street ;)

      Pitta freeze OK as long as you freeze them soon after they have cooled. I like to cut them in half and put them in the toaster, or cut them into strips and use them for dips. They really are at their best when they are newly baked though, they can get a bit leathery on reheating. I guess if you were planning to freeze them, then reduce the baking time to maybe two and a half minutes, so puffed but not taking on colour, then when you defrost them you could sprinkle them with water and back into a hot oven?

      1. heidi

        Jo, Melanie- I use the ZIYAD brand Falafil Mix- they call them vegetable burgers. I tried to make them from reconstituted dried garbanzo beans and chickpea flour and they were too soft and fell apart. I tried again with a recipe just using the chickpea flour and they fried up as a flavorful crumb. The mix gave me real falafels and the ingredients list: Ground chick peas, ground fava beans, spice blend, baking soda, salt and sesame seeds.
        We NEVER have leftovers- so I have no idea how they freeze.

  6. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Brydie , if I could fill a pitta pocket and hand it over right now I would be delighted! I haven’t made pasties, but there are lots of lovely recipes around. I’m going to investigate…

  7. miskmask

    Fired-up the computer this morning, and came straight here to see those pitta piccies. Inspirational. :) Might give it a go this weekend. Would do so today but the darned plumber is due here to un-do the catastrophe that he unleashed on Wednesday. Makes me wonder if I should take up plumbing as a hobby along with bread-making. I’ve not tasted falafel, and I think it’s about time that I do. :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      What has the plumber done? At least he’s coming back, cross fingers he can sort it out, he’d better! Look forward to seeing your pitta soon!

  8. miskmask

    Whilst attempting to remove the turnie-bit on the tap so he could inspect the washer, he managed to shear off the pipe feeding into it, so what should have been a moderate-muscle and wrench job is now a blow torch, new taps, and replacement pipe job. And he’ll not being seeing a slice of my sourdough bread with his tea either! Harrumph.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I am guessing you don’t live in my part of the world, otherwise I’d send you my lovely friend Clive, the kindest plumber in the world, and he never sucks his teeth and says, ooh, who did that, in that way that plumbers do, doesn’t eat biscuits and drinks his Earl Grey black.

      1. miskmask

        Nearly opposite ends; I’m in Sussex near Brighton. My dentist’s name is Clive, and he’s a genius with a drill and chisel, too. Ooh. The plumber redeemed himself by fitting two gorgeous taps, so I gave him a tall mug of Earl Grey (he wanted it white with one sugar). All’s well that ends well … and can be settled with a credit card.

  9. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Just looking at these photos and they are all a bit blue, something to do with the low energy halogen lights, got to work on my evening food photos …. or maybe just start eating out doors :D

  10. Carl Legge


    Love those sort of meals where you all pitch in to make yummy food you can eat with your hands. Will certainly give Dan’s pitta recipe a try, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Carl x

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hi Carl, you’re welcome. Check out the rest of the Guardian Guide to Baking too, there are some great, great recipes and advice in there if you missed it originally. I don’t know if the Guardian hold back copies of the print version, but in there you will find all sorts of wonderful things. The original Top tea cakes, as redone by Bakery Bits, the perfect delicate mik loaf – it’s my desert island baking guide ;) I hope that Dan will publish it or some of the contents one day, I keep losing my little dog eared original.

  11. Mariana

    My goodness – you really are the bread baking queen in blogland I think. How impressive! Your pictures reminded me of a story on Food Safari with Maeve O’Meara. I recall gasping as the pitas literally swelled up in the ovens. Your pics are marvellous. Great job Joanna.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Thank you but you know, I am a relative new comer to all this, and there are hundreds of wonderful bread baking bloggers out there – have a look at my links page, or visit Mellow Bakers, The Fresh Loaf or Dan Lepard’s forum. I am constantly awed by the beautiful bread that this diverse community produces. It’s the yeast that makes the magic happen, every time :)

  12. C

    Oooh, pitta! I haven’t made those since I started blogging. Love DL’s recipe though – I was so impressed when they puffed up in the oven (and really wished I had a see-through oven door!) – just as I had hoped and just like yours. Must make them again soon. The falafels look great – I’ve never eaten them but am not a fan of cumin, so probably won’t ever have them!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I love making pitta and watching it puff up! The more times you do it, the less of a big deal it is, until that moment when it goes in the oven and then we still squeak with excitement! I guess if you really dislike cumin you could make your own mix and leave it out. Still waiting hopefully to hear from someone who has a great from scratch falafel recipe…..

  13. Joanna Post author

    Reblogged this on Zeb Bakes and commented:

    I was reminded by Misk’s great pitta post this morning of just how much I love the perfect pitta recipe from Dan Lepard. Turn your oven to max and bake these soon!

  14. Pingback: Falafel with Fava Beans and Chickpeas « Zeb Bakes

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