Friday, May 30, 2008

A Pocket of Pita

A couple of weeks ago my friend Chelle over at Sugar and Spice made some pita bread. It looked wonderful and I knew I would have to make it soon. I was lucky enough to have today off of work so I decided to take the morning and bake up a batch. It came together very easily and only took a few hours to make.

Talk about good, this stuff is so light and fluffy and delicious. I think I might even go to the store and get ingredients to make some hummus. Well, humm, I guess that's all I have to say, my brain is at a loss for words today.

Pita Bread
Sugar and Spice

Makes 8 pitas

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 packet yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, or shortening

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.

Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. [I used a kitchen scale to ensure they were all about the same size.] Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.

While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.

After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick - 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet [I used parchment paper] and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface [I made 2 at a time on my baking stone]. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary.


What's Cookin Chicago said...

Those are the most perfect rounds of pita I've ever seen! Great job :)

Robin said...

These look great, Amber! I think I may have to try this recipe soon!

Anonymous said...

Your pitas look great! I'm glad you enjoyed this recipe, I just loved them!

Anonymous said...

Oh yum! I love pita bread but have never even considered making it myself. I might have to try now! Looks so pretty :)

crystal said...

I made these today! Mine aren't as pretty as yours but wow... are they good! Thank you!
(I gave you some linky love on my blog too! )

Lunch Buckets said...

I saved Chelle's post for these too - they looked so nice! It's great to see that yours turned out so well, gives me hope :)

Cassi said...

From Experience...
I tried these and they were great!

They didn't taste like the cardboard ones at the store. They were soft too!

Good Job!

Jessica said...

I think I'm going to try these on my day off this week! Great job!

Jaime said...

i just made these and love them! yours look so fluffy and perfect!