Authentic Pita Bread
Nothing is as more quintessential then authentic pita bread in the Middle East. It is eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner, it accompanies the basic and regal meal. When it dries out it is transformed into yet another classic example of the fragility of the Arab housewife.
It is simple and versatile to make and can be used as pizza dough, or a flat bread covered in herbs and olive oil. I use my standing mixer with a dough hook which makes it easy and fast.
Pita bread can be frozen for up to month and then transformed back to it’s alluring state in the oven. It is easy to make and worth the effort it takes. Makes 6 to 7 loaves or try making small rounds for a group.
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
2 cups warm water 110°
1/1/4 teaspoons sugar
3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
Combine 1 cup of warm water and sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the top. Set the mixture aside until foamy.
Sift the flour and salt together into the mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture, 1 cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using a dough hook mix until it has pulled away from the sides. You may need to add some more water or flour depending on how wet or dry it is, use small amounts at a time.
Transfer the dough onto a work surface and knead the dough by pushing and pulling, folding the dough over itself. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Coat a bowl with the remainder of oil and place the dough in. Roll it around until coated with the oil. Cover and let rise for 2 hours until doubled in size.
Punch dough down and transfer to a work surface. Gently divide the dough into 7 equal pieces, make them into balls and set aside. Work one at a time and cover the others with a floured towel. Roll the balls into a 6” diameter, 1/4” thick. After all the balls have been formed into discs let them rest covered by the floured towel for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven the 500°, with the rack on the lowest settings. Preheat your baking sheet or pizza stone until hot.
Arrange 1 to 2 pitas onto a baking sheet, and bake until puffed up 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool while continuing with the remainder.
Store into a resealable bag when cooled completely. Freeze for up to a month and defrost before reheating in a 300° oven for 10 minutes.
Tip: Cut the old pita into triangles and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until crisp in the oven. Use for dips or my beloved hummus.