I don’t know if you are like me on this issue, but I am often disappointed when I buy halfway decent pita bread from the store, only to have it go bad in a couple of days. Not only that, but the texture and the thickness of the bread is not what I was expecting. Now don’t get me wrong, it gets me by when I am using pita on some of my dishes, but lately, I have had enough.
There comes that time for a lot of us when enough is enough. You want and expect better things, especially when it comes to food. I had another one of those times this past weekend when I made lebanese meatloaf known as kofta, and I wanted great, homemade pita. I have made enough bread and pizza dough to realize that I could simply use those same ingredients, bend the process a bit, and come up with some really killer pita bread, and I did just that, and now you can to.
The process of making pita is really simple, and takes only a bit of time for the rising process, roughly 1.5 hours, or so, however the results yield rustic shapes of perfectly sized pita bread that can be used to dip into your hummus, made into chips, used as a wrap, or sliced open to stuff your wonderful salad ingredients into. Trust me on this one. Store bought pitas will no longer be in your refrigerator.
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tsp of white sugar
- 3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
Get a mixing bowl ready and add in the salt, water, olive oil and sugar. Mix well. Toss in the yeast and approximately one cup of the warm water. Add the flour, mix well, and let this sit for about 10 minutes. After about 10 minutes, add in two more cups of water, and mix to make a looser dough.
Next, flour your hands, and toss a bit of the flour on a board, and knead for a couple of minutes. Place this into another bowl, drizzle a bit of olive oil on it, and keeping a ball shape, toss it around so the oil coats the dough. Place a damp towel over it and place in a warm place for roughly one hour. If you want, preheat your oven to about 250 degrees while you are making the dough, shut off the heat, and when ready, place the bowl into the oven, making sure it is warm, and not hot. After all, you do not want to cook the dough!
Check the dough in about one hour. It should have doubled in size. This is always an exciting part. Not only does it smell good, but it assures you that you did everything right.
As always, punch down the dough once it has risen for about a hour. Flour your working surface, again, and cut the dough into about 6-9 pieces. Roll each piece into a circular shape, roughly 5-7 inches in diameter. Cover all of the circles with a long towel, and let rise again, for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to the highest heat, typically 500 degrees. If you have a cooking rack, use it. Place a couple of the circles on the rack, and cook only for about 5 minutes, making sure it does not overcook, but cooking to a nice golden brown. During this time, dampen a towel with cool water. When you remove the pita from the oven, place them on a plate, and quickly cover them with the dampened towel, covering until the next batch is done. This creates a steam process that make the pita bread nice and pliable. Trust me. Repeat this process, taking the steamed pita, and placing on another plate to let cool before serving, or storing.
When ready to serve, use as is, laying your ingredients on top and folding, or cut in half, easily stuffing with what you desire, or cut them into wedges, place back in the oven until crisp and serving as chips.
Homemade pita has never been better. Placing these in a ziplock bag has made for easy storage, and one that has been going on many days. No mold, no waste, and pure easiness to make.