Pita Bread

14 09 2009

pita5

I’ve always loved pita bread, mostly because it has pockets in it that holds sandwich fillings very well. I never thought you could make it in your own kitchen. I’m a fairly new cook, so you have to give me some credit here.

I first saw the recipe on Annie’s Eats, and I made sure to star it for whenever I was feeling ambitious in the baking department. I finally pushed myself to make it, because I wanted to try a very popular recipe for Chicken Gyros one night (which will be featured in the next post).

I will admit, it does need a lot of rising/resting time, but as far as your effort goes? Couldn’t be easier, in my opinion. Plus, it’s so much more flavorful than the bread you buy in stores and probably cheaper! I would say, if you’re new to bread, this is a great recipe for you to start with!

Pita Bread
Source: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour, plus 1/2-3/4 cup more as needed (I used bread flour)
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar or honey
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups water, roughly at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, vegetable oil, butter or shortening

Directions:

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar.  Add the olive oil and 1 ¼ 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, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.  As the dough is mixing, continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is tacky but not sticky.  (I add a significant amount of flour, so don’t be afraid to keep adding more until you reach the right consistency.)

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 and place it into the bowl, rolling the dough around so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

pita1

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 equal 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 will be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450°. 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 it is preheating. 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 ¼ – 1/8” thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently, you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5-10 minutes before trying again.

pita2

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

pita3

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy (When the recipe says puffy, it is completely puffy!  Wow!) 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.

pita4

The Skinny – per serving, serves 8

Calories 240.6
Fat 4.0 g
Fiber 1.8 g

I’m thinking of incorporating some whole wheat flour for next time to lower the calories, and to increase the flour. I didn’t want to lighten the recipe for the first time that I made it, so that I could familiarize myself with the process and understand for next time, how it’s supposed to come out, just in case whole wheat doesn’t work out. I have a good feeling that subbing 1 cup of whole wheat for the regular flour would work, though. We’ll see!

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One response

14 01 2010
Alderina

Hi Amy!

thank you for sharing this recipe :D

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