Sunday, October 5, 2008

Homemade Pita Bread

I am never buying pita bread from the store again! It is so easy to make it at home - and much more delicious, too!

Pita Bread
(adapted from The Fresh Loaf)

3 cups bread flour (I'm sure all-purpose flour would work fine, too)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 packet yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the oil and 1 1/4 cup water and mix ingredients in mixer (with dough hook). All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water. Allow mixer to knead dough for about 10 minutes. (Or you can knead by hand for same amount of time on lightly floured surface.)

When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. 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 and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 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. 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.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. 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.

Eat them!!!

**As you can see from the pictures, not all of my pitas puffed up like they were "supposed to." But, they still turned out awesome. They were just more like flat-bread than the pita bread that we're used to buying at the store.

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