Never in a million years did I ever think I would make pita bread. From scratch. Ask me if I would ever make pita bread, before I started my blog, and I would have told you that you were crazy. But I've had a lot of firsts since starting my food blog. I'm quite proud of all the things I've tried my hand at... cinnamon rolls, layer cakes, buttercream, pie crust, brioche, doughnuts, etc.
So, when I went to the grocery store to pick up some pita bread and was informed by an employee that they no longer carry pita bread, I decided that instead of making a separate trip to another store, that I would just make some. From scratch.
I've seen pita bread on several blogs lately, and one recipe in particular caught my attention - Chelle's. She convinced me that I could easily make my own fluffy and soft pita bread. It was honestly so simple, I wondered why I had never made it before. The hardest thing about this was waiting for the dough to rise. This was yet another instance when I was glad we had a baking stone - the pitas baked up perfectly on it, and I did not have to worry about greasing a baking sheet.
These would be great with some garlic or roasted red pepper hummus. Or, you could cut them into little triangles and bake them a bit longer to make pita chips. For now, I leave you simply with the pita bread recipe... but stay tuned for my next post, when I tell you what I stuffed this wonderful pita bread with.
*Update: I'm submitting this to July's Bread Baking Day, created by Zorra and hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen. This month's theme is "small breads," or individual serving size breads. Be sure to check out the round up during the first week of August.
Homemade Pita Bread
from Brown Eyed Baker
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening
Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.
Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes. (I used my KitchenAid Mixer and dough hook at speed 2.)
When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough (I had to continue adding flour, one tablespoon at a time, mixing/kneading until it came together like a ball - it was too sticky otherwise) and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes. (I always use my oven as a proofing box. I heat my oven to 175°F, turn it off, leave the door open for a few minutes to let some of the heat out, and then put the dough inside the oven to rise.)
When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.
After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick - 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.
Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet (I used my baking stone) and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.
Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface (I was able to bake 3 at a time on my baking stone.) They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.
Yield: 8 pitas