Is there anything pita bread can’t do? You can fill them with delicious toppings, or make pizzas on them. Turn them into snack chips, or just eat them the way they are. Sure, pitas are more than readily available in stores, but a fresh pita straight from the oven is on an entire other level.
- 3 cups flour (I used all-purpose white flour, but you can use whole wheat or a combination of the two)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
The first thing you need to do is proof the yeast. In a large bowl, add the yeast and sugar to the water. Wait about 10 minutes for the yeast to wake up.
Then add the flour, salt, and oil. Mix them together until they start to form a cohesive dough, and then dump the dough out onto a flat surface. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes to get that gluten going. Make the dough into a smooth ball.
Dump the dough out onto your work area and punch it down. You’re trying to get rid of the gas bubbles that have formed during the rise. Then divide the dough into eight pieces. Form each piece into a ball.
Now cover them with a towel for 15-20 minutes to rest. This will let the gluten loosen so you can roll them out more easily. While they’re resting, preheat your oven to 450° F. It’s a great idea to use a baking stone, but you can substitute an upside-down sheet pan. Put your baking surface into the oven to heat up.
Now move your dough balls to the side and get your rolling pin. Don’t have a rolling pin? You can use anything that is rolling-pin-shaped; for instance, a wine bottle! If you have to, you can even form them by hand. Take one of the balls and start rolling it from the center out. Turn the dough and roll it again. Continue this until you’ve rolled the dough into a circular shape. You want to roll it out to about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch thick. You can experiment to get the thickness that you prefer. If you like your pitas thick and chewy, then roll them out thicker. You’ll have room for two in the oven, so roll out two of the dough balls.
When the oven is preheated, place your two rolled out pitas onto the stone or sheet pan. A peel or other flat (heat resistant) object will help you transfer them to the oven. They will almost immediately puff up. It’s quite amazing!
Leave them in the oven for 3-6 minutes. They’ll probably be done in three, but you can leave them in longer if you like them with a little color. Take them out and place them on a cooling rack or counter. I place them between two wet paper towels to keep them soft.
You might want to poke a hole in them to let the air inside escape. If you feel the need to squeeze the air out of them, stay away from the hole you poked! The air escaping is incredibly hot. When you take two out, put another two in. When they are all finished, eat them…er…I mean, let them cool. You can then eat them, or wrap them in foil or a plastic bag and keep them in the fridge.
See? Easy. The best part is that if they don’t turn out perfectly they still taste great. Now what to do with these pitas…