To go along with my last homemade hummus recipe post, I also delved into making homemade pita bread for the first time. It was not too difficult at all, and what made me nervous was just the super-hot oven temperature and slapping the pita dough circles onto a hot pan in the oven. This recipe was pretty foolproof though and the pita puffed up like it’s supposed to, which made me very happy!
The dough itself is very simple. You need to heat a pan in the hot oven and then individually place the pita dough circles on the pan for just about 2 minutes on each side, and then they’re done!
They taste fantastic and when puffed up could totally be cut in half and used for a sandwich. I ate them with hummus and it was pure awesome. Try making homemade pita – you shall not regret it.
Homemade Pita Bread
from the New York Times
Makes 8 circles of pita bread
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) whole-wheat flour
2 1/2 cups (310 grams) unbleached all-purposed flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
First, make the sponge:
Put 1 cup lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add the whole-wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and whisk together. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place, uncovered, until mixture is frothy and bubbling, about 15 minutes.
Form the dough:
Add salt, olive oil and nearly all remaining all-purpose flour (reserve 1/2 cup). With a wooden spoon or a pair of chopsticks, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mass. Dust with a little reserved flour, then knead in bowl for 1 minute, incorporating any stray bits of dry dough.
Turn dough onto work surface. Knead lightly for 2 minutes, until smooth. Cover and let rest 10 minutes, then knead again for 2 minutes. Try not to add too much reserved flour; the dough should be soft and a bit moist. (At this point, dough may refrigerated in a large zippered plastic bag for several hours or overnight. Bring dough back to room temperature, knead into a ball and proceed with recipe.)
Clean the mixing bowl and put dough back in it. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then cover with a towel. Put bowl in a warm (not hot) place. Leave until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Cook the pitas:
Heat oven to 475 degrees. On bottom shelf of oven, place a heavy-duty baking sheet, large cast-iron pan or ceramic baking tile. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces of equal size. Form each piece into a little ball. Place dough balls on work surface, cover with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.
Remove 1 ball (keeping others covered) and press into a flat disc with rolling pin. Roll to a 6- to 8-inch diameter circle, about 1/8 inch thick, dusting with flour if necessary.
Carefully lift the dough circle and lay it flat quickly on hot baking sheet in the oven. After 2 minutes the dough should be nicely puffed. Turn over with tongs or spatula and bake 1 minute more. The pita should be pale, with only a few brown speckles. Transfer warm pita to a napkin-lined basket and cover so bread stays soft. Repeat with the rest of the dough balls.