Wonderful little pockets of bread to hold all kinds of good fillings.
The pocket in pita bread is created by steam and when it flattens it leaves a pocket on the inside to hold all kinds of delicious fillings. Grilled veggies are great served in a pita. Or, you can use the pita to make individual pizzas or better yet, make hummus and use the pita for scooping out the dip.
My mother was a really good cook and she of course made homemade breads. She would make wonderful cornbread and the best homemade biscuits and yeast rolls. I remember when she use to make biscuits and my sister and I would beg her to bang the pan on the counter so they would fall (now who in the world would do that — but she did, for us) because her biscuits had a wonderful crunchy bottom and by deflating them, you had a crunchy bottom and top. Over the years I learned to appreciate high fluffy biscuits and feel guilty for taking the air out of my mother’s biscuits. Never had pita as a kid, but I’m sure my mother could have made them.
For years I have bought pita and made pita chips that I brush with cumin, butter and lemon pepper. No, I didn’t buy the pita chips that are already baked and bagged. BUT, I have never made my own pita bread until a recent www.thedaringkitchen.com challenge where we were asked to make pita, hummus and a mezza table full of wonderful Middle Eastern treats.
These were delicious served with a bowl of fresh hummus.
After the dough has raised, it is ready to be divided and rolled into pita.
These were so quick to roll out. Can’t believe I have never attempted these before.
Boy, did these ever balloon up.
2 tsp. regular dry yeast
2 1/2 c. lukewarm water
5-6 c. flour
1 Tbsp. table salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
In a large bread bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in 3 cups of flour, a cup at a time, and then stir 100 times (or use stand mixer) about 1 minute. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes or as long as 2 hours.
Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add more flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is too stiff to stir Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Rinse out the bowl, dry, and lightly oil. Return the dough to the bowl an cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least doubled in size, approximately 1 1 2 hours.
Place a pizza stone, or two small baking sheets on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving an inch gap all around between the stone or sheets and the oven walls to allow heat to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450°.
Gently punch down the dough. Divide the dough in half, and then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide the other half into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4″ thick. Keep the rolled out breads covered until ready to bake, but do not stack.
Place 2 breads on the stone or baking sheets, and bake for 2-3 minutes or until each bread has gone into a full balloon. If for some reason your bread doesn’t puff up, don’t worry it should still taste delicious. Wrap the baked breads together in a large kitchen towel to keep them warm and soft while you bake the remaining rolled out breads. Then repeat with the rest of the dough.
Serve with a fresh batch of hummus or split and fill with your favorite fillings.