Monday, June 29, 2009

Homemade Pita Bread

For some reason this afternoon, I had a burning desire to make pita bread. I think it was due to the fact that I was planning on making spicy red lentil soup and we had no bread in the house. My sister gave me a recipe for pita bread years ago, but it used a whole 5 lb. bag of flour and I was never much interested in making that much. (Even if I could freeze it!)


2 teaspoons yeast or 1 package
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar or maple syrup
3 cups flour (I used 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups water

Mix the yeast with the warm water and sugar and let sit for 10 minutes to activate. (I've often heard this step is not necessary, but why risk it?)

Blend your flour, salt, and olive oil into bowl of Kitchen Aid. Attach paddle. Add yeast mix. Blend gently for a few whirls and then add in 1 cup of water. If dough is too dry add additonal 1/4 cup water. Blend until it dough forms a ball and then change paddle to dough hook. Let your mixer do the work for 10 minutes or you can knead by hand.

Place dough in bowl that is lightly covered with oil and turn to coat dough. Cover and set aside for 1 and a half hours, until doubled in size. Punch down dough and divide into 12 balls. Cover with damp towel and let rest 20 minutes.

Turn oven to 425 degrees and place either pizza stone or upside down cookie sheet on center rack.

On a floured board, roll out each pita as thin as you can; I try for 1/8th inch. Once oven is warmed, cook 4 pitas at a time for 5-6 minutes. You can turn them if you want, but I tried both ways and found no discernible difference except the turned ones had brown spots on both sides.

These had a perfect air pocket inside and a chewy crust.

I served it alongside spicy red lentil soup.

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