Pita bread is really quite simple to prepare, can be used in so many ways, to include what ever left overs you have, bake them slow in the oven or toss into the dehydrator over night to turn into pita chips. Pita chips are great because they pack well in lunches and picnics and are most delightful with humus. In fact even fresh out of the oven pita bread is amazing with so many toppings from humus to kabob.
- 1/2 ounce fresh yeast or 1/4 ounce of dried yeast
- 1 1/4 cup room temperature water
- Sugar (tiny amount)
- 3 1/2 cups flour (wheat, multi-grain, all-purpose)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Olive Oil
Dissolve the yeast in about 1/4 cup of the water. Add a pinch of sugar and leave in a warm place until it becomes bubbly (about 10-15 minutes). I use a large earthenware bowl microwaved for 1 minute to warm it, mix the sugar and yeast in it, put a plate over the top and put back into the microwave until it had become bubbly.
If using whole wheat or multi-grain flour, sift the flour and salt into another warmed mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture.
Knead well adding only as much of the remaining water as is required to form a firm but not hard dough. If your bowl is large enough, knead the dough for another 15 minutes or until it is smooth and nice and elastic. Add small amounts of flour as needed to keep it from sticking to your fingers.
If you want to make a softer pita bread, knead 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the dough.
Remove your kneaded dough from the bowl, pour a very small amount of olive oil onto the bottom of the bowl, this is only to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl or from becoming dry.
Cover with a dampened cloth and plate, leave in a warm, draft free location (gotta love the oven) and allow the dough to double in size, this will take several hours.
Punch the dough down, knead it again for a few minutes. Depending upon the size of bread you want for your finished product take lumps of the dough and shape into balls. Normally the size of a large potato will work for most purposes. Flatten each dough ball on a lightly floured surface, roll with a rolling-pin or tortilla press if you have a really large one, place on another lightly floured surface and allow it to rise again for about 10-20 minutes.
Arrange the racks in your oven to accommodate a baking sheet and bread on each rack. Preheat the oven to the maximum temperature you can set it to prior to it switching to the “broil” setting. This varies from model to model of ovens. Preheat it for a minimum of 10 minutes. Oil two large baking sheets, and bake the oiled sheets for 10 minutes, use care not to burn the oil.
When the dough has risen again, slip the rounds onto the hot baking sheets, sprinkle them lightly with cold water to prevent them from browning and bake for 6 to 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the baking sheets and place on cooling racks, do not let them cool on the baking sheets.
The end result should be a nice soft bread with a pouch inside.