Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easy Homemade Pita Bread

This week Elizabeth has been experimenting with making Pita bread.  She has adapted a recipe from

So, here is a little tutorial that I would like to share:

What you need:
Mixing bowl
Rolling Pin (Yes, you'll be using it for something other than chasing the rest of the family out of the kitchen while you are working)
Baking sheet
1 C warm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 to 3 C flour (we used all whole wheat flour)
1-2 tsp. olive oil (if desired)

Mix water rand yeast together, and let sit for about 5 minutes, until yeast is dissolved.  At 2 Cups of flour, salt, and olive oil (if using... Elizabeth said in this last batch she didn't even put it in). Stir.  The dough will be "shaggy".

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes or so, until it is smooth an elastic.  Add more flour, as needed, A LITTLE BIT at a time.  This is important when making yeast doughs because when you add too much flour, it makes the dough very heavy, and harder for the yeast to do its job. Remember, it is better to use to little flour than too much.

Return the dough to the bowl, and let it rise for a couple hours, covered, or until it is doubled in bulk.  (Now you can go back to home schooling, cleaning, doing laundry, or, like some people I know *ahem* who just go and sew while waiting.)

(You can refrigerate the dough at this point until the dough is needed.  You can also do one or two pitas at a time and keep the dough in the fridge for several days.  If you have a big family, feel free to laugh that suggestion to scorn, because you know as well as I do, doing "one or two" pitas is a joke in a family our size.)

Gently punch down the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 8 parts (or 24, if you tripled the batch like we always have to do, really, I don't even remember what it is like to make a single batch of ANYTHING anymore!) and flatten each piece out into little discs by hand.  Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour, then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap until they are ready to be rolled and baked.

To shape the pitas, use a floured rolling pin, and roll each of the discs into a 8-9 inch circle, about a quarter inch thick.  Lift and turn frequently to prevent sticking to the counter. If it seems to be sticking, sprinkle A LITTLE more flour on the counter.

To bake the pitas in the oven, heat the oven to 450.  Yes, that's right.  You want it wicked HOT!  If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat.  If you don't (we don't.  I don't know why.  We make our own pizzas and whatnot all the time, so you'd think I'd get one, but I never think of it until I read a recipe like this and I slap myself in the forehead and have all the intentions in the world of putting it on a list but always forget before I get to it because of constant distractions... oh, look!  something shiny!.....)

Where was I?

Oh yeah, 450 degree oven, stone in the oven if you have it (don't worry, I won't go into all that again), place a large baking sheet on the rack to heat.

Yeah, the baking sheet... nothing on it.  The sheet has to be wicked HOT too.  :)

Place the rolled out pitas directly on the baking sheets (as many as will fit reasonably) and bake for about 3 minutes.  ( I know ... all that kneading, raising and rolling out for a mere three minutes???? Seriously?? It's like cooking for Thanksgiving... 3 days of preparation, and a half hour for the locusts to scarf it all down. But I've digressed again.  This is what happens when I blog at night!)

Oh, Elizabeth says to carry the pita by hand and flip it onto the baking sheet.

The pita should start to puff up after a minute or two, and is done when it is fully ballooned.  Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking remaining pitas.

Note... while the pitas are cooling, they will "deflate" but the pocket formed by the ballooning will still be there.

Pitas are best when eaten immediately but can be stored in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are warmed in a toaster oven.  Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between each one for up to three months.

 This has nothing to do with making pita bread, but I spent and hour one evening doing this to her hair.  She loves it. It started with me trying to play with her hair, making a regular braid.  I offered to make two braids and she just "Harumphed" at me.  I said, " How about Twenty?" never dreaming she'd take me up on it.  Well, she said "Sure!" and this was the result.  (FYI... I only did 18 braids.  I owe her two more, I guess!)

I'm very glad to report that after a couple of days of torrential rains and 50 degree weather, winter has come back today.  A couple of inches of snow, and cold temperatures.... ahhhhhhh, does it get any better than this?

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

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