Pita Bread

pita-bread
This week I have been on a hummus binge. I love the stuff and use it for all kinds of things including salad dressings, sandwich spreads, and a sauce for pasta. Weird, I know, but it is oh-so-good.

My favorite way to eat it, though, is on really good, slightly warmed pita bread. Sadly, there is no good pita bread available in any nearby store. All I have at my market is Thomas’. Why would I trust pita made by a company started by an Englishman? Just because they give it the name “Sahara” does not magically give it Middle Eastern Street cred. Yes, it is snobby, but I refuse to buy it.

And this is how weird I am … I would rather make it from scratch than drive 20 minutes in traffic to buy the good stuff.

So here is my recipe for homemade pita. The key to the pocket is the thickness of your discs, and the rest period between rolling and baking. This rest allows a skin to form which traps the steam and forces it to build up inside the dough.

INGREDIENTS

1-1/2 cup warm water
2 (.25 oz.) packages active dry yeast
1 TB. honey
1 TB. olive oil
1 TB. kosher salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2-3 cups bread flour

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl stir together the warm water, yeast, honey and oil, and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in oil, salt, whole wheat flour, and enough bread flour to create a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour only as necessary, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 500˚F and place inside a clean, dry baking sheet, cast-iron griddle or baking tile. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, divide it into 5 equal portions and roll each into a tight ball. Rest dough for 3-5 minutes. Then using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a flat disc, 1/4-inch thick. Keep uncovered and rest 20 minutes. One at a time, toss each disc onto the preheated baking sheet in the oven. Shut the oven and bake exactly 3 minutes. Remove carefully with tongs, and repeat with remaining dough. Finished bread will be puffed and very pale. Cool completely before slicing and opening. Store for 2 days at room temperature wrapped air-tight, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Next week … the hummus. (And my recipe has been approved by an actual Middle Eastern dude.)

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