Pita Bread

Pita bread is something that is pretty much always on hand here.   I usually bring hummus and peanut butter pitas (no, not together – two different pitas) with me to work for snacks and have it with certain meals.  Tonight I had an egg and cheese pita.  It doesn’t take that long to make and usually I’ll make it late at night when there’s nothing else to do while listening to shortwave or catching up on podcasts.

The recipe I use is based on the one from here , but a little different.    I almost always double the recipe and freeze half of the bread for later use unless I know I’ll use it up quickly.

For 12 pitas –

1 tablespoon of yeast

1/2 cup of warm water

3 cups of flour – I use half white and half whole wheat.

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup of water

Put the tablespoon of yeast into a bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water and the sugar and stir.    Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then you’ll see it start to foam up.  This is the yeast doing it’s job.

While you’re waiting for the yeast to activate, put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.    I use a Kitchenaid Mixer , which is a great thing to have if you do a lot of baking – my wife did a lot of baking (and hand mixing) before we got one, but the mixer made making bread user-friendly enough to get me into it.

When the yeast water is ready, pour it into the mixing bowl and start kneading.   Slowly add that one cup of water as you knead.  It will take about 10-15 minutes of kneading (or maybe 3-5 minutes with the mixer) until the dough reaches the right consistency, which is smooth, elastic and not very sticky.   Let it sit in an oiled bowl for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size.   If it doesn’t, you did something wrong.

After it is done rising, roll the dough into balls that are about 2 “.   You should get approximately 12 of these balls from the above recipe, so it might help to divide the dough in half (or quarters) to give you a better idea on how much dough you’re actually working with.

Throw some flour on a flat surface and rub flour on a rolling pin and roll out the balls into about a 6 ” diameter and 1/4 inch width.

The link suggests baking them at 500F for 4 minutes and then turning over for 2 minutes, but I haven’t had that much luck with baking them.   When I do they usually turn out a little on the crisp side and make better pita chips.  It might work out for you though..

I prefer to use an ungreased cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat.    Place the dough on the skillet and within a few minutes you will start to see air pockets form.   Once you see a complete pocket (or smell it burning!), flip it and let the other side go for approximately 1-2 minutes.    Remove from heat when done and enjoy with whatever you want to stuff it with. Honey and butter is good when they’re fresh.


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