A few weeks back I had a hankering for pita bread. This was no surprise. I frequently find myself obsessing over carbs. What was a surprise was that before the end of the next day I had managed (with the eager help of the hubby) to scarf down two batches of this recipe. Before you judge me too much I should say that we did make some hummus and tzatziki sauce to accompany which was rationalized as a complete meal (garbanzo beans=protein, pita=carb, cucumber in tzatziki=vegetable. See? Healthy right?) Like I said, don’t judge.
What I liked most about this recipe is that it produces a nice chewy pita like the ones I get at my favorite greek restaurants. I should note that if you’re using these as a sandwhich where you would want a nice “pocket” in which to stuff, I would reccomend baking them in the oven instead. The drawback to baking them in the oven is that it’s more like a sandwhich bread in texture and seems a little dry to me. But if your used to the pita from most grocery stores than that may be more to your liking.
- 1 Cup tepid water (to activate yeast)
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 2.5-3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. olive oil
Mix the water and yeast together in mixing bowl and let sit until the yeast is dissolved and foamy (about 5 min). Add 2.5 cups flour, salt and olive oil to mixer and with paddle attachment mix until it’s a shaggy dough.
Switch to dough hook and knead on md. speed (4setting on a kitchenaid mixer) about 5-7min or until smooth and elastic (You may need to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky).
Transfer dough to clean bowl and turn to lightly coat in olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm area (like a sunny window seal or warm oven) until doubled in size, 1-2 hours
*From here you can refrigerate the dough for a later time. you can also pinch off a piece to make only a few at a time and refrigerate the rest. It will keep for a week.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surfuce and divide dough into 8 equal balls. (I weighed mine on a scale beceause im o.c.d like that) Flatten each ball into a small disk with your hands and cover the pieces that your not working on with a piece of plastic wrap or kitchen towel
With a floured rolling pin, roll each piece until about a quarter inch thick. Lift the dough and turn frequently to prevent it from sticking to the counter and sprinkle with extra flour as needed. (a bench scraper can be a huge help here to help rotate if it sticks but you can also use a spatula) If the dough starts to spring back when rolling, set aside for a few minutes to give it time to relax.
*Once you get the hang of things, you can roll one while your cooking one.
Warm a cast iron skillet over md-high heat. Make sure your pan is good and hot before cooking. Wipe the pan with a oiled paper towel. Dust off any flour that’s on the surface of the dough and lay onto skillet. Cook on first side for appx. 30 secoonds. You’ll see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook another 1-2 min. There should be large toasted spots on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2min. to toast the other side. During this time the pita should start to puff up.
*if your pita doesn’t puff at all it could be that your skillet is not hot enough
Eat while hot. Leftovers can be kept in a airtight bag for several days.
To Bake in oven: Heat oven to 450*F. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat. If you don’t have a baking stone place a cookie sheet on the middle rack. Place rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone/cookie sheet and bake for 3 min. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully balooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking remaining pitas.