The pita bread is one of the most useful breads the world over. It is used to scoop, dip, wrap, and fill. And in the humble opinion of this home cook, one of the most difficult breads (so far) that I have tried to cook. However, it is definitely doable for the home cook and homemade is far better than any I have brought home from the store. It will bring a higher level of “wow” and satisfaction to your hummus and falafel.
- 1 package of yeast, or 2 1/2 tsp
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 3 cups all purpose flour (I like to use unbleached)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 a cup of warm water with sugar. Make sure the water is between 100° and 110° or you will kill the yeast. Let sit for 15 minutes until the water becomes alive as the yeast causes the water to froth.
In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Making sure to combine well before adding yeast. In the center of the four mixture make a bowl and pour the yeast and water in. Slowly add 1 cup of warm water and stir. This can all be done in your Kitchen Aid or in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
When dough is combined, place on a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. As the dough becomes smooth and elastic, loosing its stickiness, it is done.
Take a large bowl and coat it with oil. You can use vegetable oil but I like olive oil better. Make sure the dough is well coated, cover and allow to site in a warm, draft free room for about 3 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
Once dough has doubled in size, punch down and then divide into 10-12 pieces, forming them into balls. Place balls on a floured surface and cover, letting sit for 10 minutes. While dough is resting heat your oven to 500° with the rack at the bottom. Make sure to preheat your baking sheet as well. I use a pizza stone, but whatever you use make sure it is HOT when you put the dough on it.
Take each ball of dough and roll it out to 5-6 inches round and 1/4 inch thick. Bake each piece about 4 minutes or until bread puffs up and then turn over and bake for an additional 2 minutes. Remove baked pita from oven and add next batch. Once removed from oven, take spatula and push down the inflated dough and immediately place in a storage container.
The pita can be eaten immediately or stored for up to a week at room temperature for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three month. Enjoy!