Sunday, October 18, 2009

Homemade Pita Bread

I don't know about you, but I love pita bread. You can dip it, use it for sandwich bread, make chips from it, use it as a burger bun, make pita-pizzas and a lot more!

I've been doing my best to make everything homemade. When I read a recipe for making pita chips, I almost went to the store to buy pita bread when I realized; hey! I could make this on my own. So I did some searching and found a recipe for homemade pita bread, that was surprisingly easy.

The recipe comes from Good Eats Blog I did do a little tweaking as the original recipe calls for 3 cups of flour and it was much too sticky and non-dough like.

What you'll need:

4 cups of flour - I use unbleached or organic, much healthier for you!
1.5 teaspoons of salt - sea salt is best
1 packet (2-1/4 teaspoons) of Yeast
1-1/4 cups of water (If you want a fluffier bread use milk instead) - make sure that this is room temperature in order for it to activate the yeast.
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, then add the olive oil and water and mix until the ingredients form a ball.

Once you have the ball formed, lightly flour a counter or cutting board and knead the dough for 10 minutes; or you can use an electric mixer for 10 minutes on low speed. I personally like kneading the dough by hand, it helps build those arm muscles!

Once you have kneaded the dough for 10 minutes, lightly oil a bowl. Form a ball with the dough and place in the bowl - I like to lightly oil the dough as well, typically this can be achieved just by rolling the ball of dough around the bowl. It helps so that the dough doesn't stick to the bowl once it has risen.

Lightly oil some plastic wrap, I usually just use Pam Olive Oil spray - it's so much easier than trying to oil plastic wrap - set the plastic wrap on top of the bowl and let it sit for 90 minutes or until doubled in size. To speed up the process a bit, I generally turn the oven on "warm" or 150-175º and let it sit in there for 60 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down to let out the excess air/gas that has built up. Form 8 balls out of the dough, and let them sit for 20 minutes to rest. The original recipe says to let them sit under a damp kitchen towel during this time, but I found it unnecessary to do so.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450º, using a baking stone works best for this recipe, but if you do not have one you can flip a cookie sheet over, and use the flat area as your area to cook.

When the dough has rested for 20 minutes, lightly flour an area to roll the dough out into 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick rounds, they should be approximately 6 inches around. You can use a rolling pin or your hands. I used my hands as I found it easier to do that way (I'm used to making pizza's by hand).

The original recipe says to let them sit for another 35-40 minutes, but I skipped this step (on accident) and they still turned out wonderfully - so do whichever you prefer!

Then place them on your baking stone or cookie sheet (I used my baking stone, if you don't have one, you should get one, they are awesome). However many you are able to fit you can cook, I personally put 3 in the oven at a time, but I probably could have squeezed a 4th on there.

Let them cook for 3-5 minutes, and you're done!

Tasty little pita breads :) Enjoy!


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