Baking Pita Bread
If you don’t mind spending about one half hour taking pita bread in and out of a hot oven, you can easily create some delicious, homemade pita. This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking.
Recipe for Pita Bread
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Mix the flour and salt in a warmed bowl. Make a depression in the flour.
Combine yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup lukewarm water (make sure it’s not hot anymore) in a small cup. Mix and set aside for 5 to 6 minutes. I wait until the yeast gets frothy. Pour the yeast mixture, 1 cup lukewarm water and olive oil into the depression. Gently form a ball and add more water if you need it. You will probably need another 3 tablespoons. Once you have a ball, knead it for 10 minutes or until smooth. (Leora’s comment: or use a mixer like the Kitchen Aid with dough hook). Put the ball in a bowl and cover with damp cloth for about 2 hours.
When it has doubled in bulk, punch the dough down and knead until smooth. With surface dusted with flour, roll out the dough and cut into 12 equal parts. Roll each into 1/4 inch rounds and lay these on baking sheets that are lightly dusted with flour. Cover with dishcloth and let them rise for about 45 minutes.
While the pitas are rising, preheat your oven to “broil.” Put a cast-iron skillet or griddle on the bottom of the oven if it’s gas or the middle if your oven is electric (I used at large stainless steel skillet). Allow to heat. Put one or two pitas, depending on size of skillet and immediately return the skillet to the oven. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. The breads will puff up. I then flip the breads (not part of the original recipe). You can also toast if you want the tops to brown. Wrap in damp dish towel to cool them down.
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Note: like the Children of Israel coming out of Israel, I didn’t have enough time to allow the dough to rise in the pita bread in the photo. Hey, the pita still came out OK!
Some foods to go with pita: