Quick & Easy Homemade Pita

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

You know that amazing pita bread you get at middle eastern restaurants?  The kind that makes you just want to eat bread for your entire meal?  I LOVE that stuff.  But the dry grocery store pita comes NOWHERE near that pillowy deliciousness that you get in a restaurant...  So I consulted my Flatbreads & Flavors cookbook and discovered that hey, it's really not that hard to just make it myself!

I used half white flour, half wheat flour (Trader Joe's White Whole Wheat) - I kind of have to trick myself into eating whole grains, and this really tasted just like the restaurant stuff!  

Dissolve 2 tsp yeast in a cup of warm water (not too hot! You'll kill the yeast!) - 5ish minutes should do it.

You're not proofing it, so it doesn't need to get foamy or anything.

Add the flour (2.5 cups), 2 tsp salt, and 1 tbsp olive oil and knead with your dough hook for 8 minutes (or by hand for about the same amount of time).

Cover with plastic wrap in oiled bowl, let rise for 1 hour.

You see? You can tell the dough is wheaty, *just* the right amount if you happened to be raised on white bread only like me...

Make your dough into a disk and cut it into 8-10 pieces, flattening each into a small round.  

(If your cast iron pan is tiny like mine, make more rounds!)

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat...

And start rolling your rounds!  They don't need to be perfect - you'll get better at it the more you roll!  This is a great spot to get your 5-year-old to help, particularly if he or she is adept with the play dough rolling pin ;)

Once the pan is warm, drizzle it with olive oil, spread it around, and toss your first pita in!

Turn on your kitchen fan!  Mine always gets really smokey when I do this...

It'll bubble up beautifully like this - you can use a towel to press the bubbles to try to make it puff up in one piece, but I don't really care about the inner cavity so I didn't bother...  Anyway, once it gets to this point (After 1-2 minutes), it's time to flip it!

Admit it...  You want to eat this right now!  Cook it for another 1-2 minutes, rolling out the next pita while it finishes up.

You might want to make a double batch...  These babies go fast!

The bread in the background is from this recipe - our favorite!
Before you know it, you will have finished making the whole batch!  You can do them in the oven too, on a pizza stone or an upended cookie sheet.  I like the cast iron pan better because it means I don't have to open and close the oven door a trillion times - too many kids running through the kitchen for THAT to be safe!

We've been eating them with homemade hummus & veggies for a really simple meal.  And I'm going to start making double batches and using them for sandwiches, too - how delicious will these be with grilled marinated chicken and veggies once the weather warms up?

If you're a bread novice, this would be a GREAT recipe to start with!  And one that your kids could definitely help out with, too.  But be warned...  You may end up eating 1 or 2 rounds before you're even done cooking them!

Quick & Easy Homemade Pita

2.5 cups flour (plus more for kneading - I used 1 cup white whole wheat, 1.5 white)
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water

1. Dissolve yeast in water in the bowl of a stand mixer, let stand approximately 5 minutes.
2. Add flour, yeast, salt, & olive oil and knead with dough hook 8 minutes (or by hand with extra flour for kneading).
3. Oil bowl & dough, cover with plastic wrap, let rise 1 hr.
4. Divide dough into 8-10 rounds.
5. On floured counter, roll each round into 6-8" circle (1/8-1/4" thick). Heat cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
6. Drizzle olive oil into heated pan and add one round at a time, cooking 1-2 minutes before flipping and cooking another 1-2 minutes.
7. Enjoy!

I thinking I'm going to try adding minced garlic & herbs next time to kick things up a notch - what are YOU cooking lately?

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