Homemade Pita Bread
My love for pita bread runs deep and true. Eating fresh pita DOES something to me. I get a bit weak in the knees and slightly giddy (the same thing happens when I buy new writing supplies … which I can’t really explain). Nostalgia is a powerful thing, campers – and pita bread hits my nostalgia buttons HARD.
I am the product of two full-time working geeks (I mean that literally – and lovingly – computers, data, and programing are my folks THING), so I from a wee age, until they pried me away to go to preschool, I went to a babysitter / nanny who ran a small daycare out of her home. I learned a lot there, but I think the biggest lesson (and only looking back do I see that I learned it there), I learned was acceptance – and celebration – of people and cultures. We’re not all the same, it’s okay – in fact: it’s kinda great.
What does any of this have to do with pita bread? Well: my nanny was Lebanese and lemme tell you, she made fresh pita everyday and she shared it with us kids. In case you were wondering I was the favorite (no really, I was … there are STORIES) and that got me a few special things over the years INCLUDING extra pita bread to take home and super fun invites for dinner (I think we had spaghetti – I was disappointed, I wanted some of the aromatic goodness I could smell cooking everyday). Can you see why I didn’t want to go to preschool? Don’t get me wrong, the nuns were great but they didn’t make me pita bread.
Turns out pita making isn’t all that hard (not sure why I envisioned it to be SO HARD … maybe because when you google pictures of pita making there is, on occasion, an OPEN FLAME involved). If you’re wanting a “pocket” to fill, it will take some practice. Only a few of the eight pita I made had a full size “pocket” that one could stuff. If you’re going to make gyro (like I did) not having a pocket isn’t such a big deal. And don’t worry if your pitas aren’t perfectly round … there’s always one that decides it wants to be a dodecahedron instead of a circle. Remember what I said about celebrating differences? PITA KNOWS.
ps – if you can flip pancakes and use a rolling pin you CAN do this.
Sidebar: *shameless self-plug alert* A small group (really, there’s about four of us participating) of like-minded Twitter peeps and I started the Meet Mystery Book Club – the premise is to read the first mystery in a series (hence the “meet” part) and have day long chats about the chapters we read for that week (Thursdays are our chat days, btw). If you’d like to join we’d LOVE to have you. Each month we set up a hashtag to use (this month it’s #MeetWimsey because we’re reading Dorothy L Sayers Whose Body?) – and if you’d like to join in on the fun in July we’re reading Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (#MeetPeabody).
Homemade Pita Bread
Originally from That Oven Feeling
1 cup water
2 tsp dry active yeast
3 cups flour
2½ tsp salt
1 TBSP EVOO + extra drizzle of olive oil
In a small bowl, warm the water to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (just above body temperature). Add the yeast to the water and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Pour the yeast and water into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached. Slowly add the flour, salt, and EVOO while kneading the dough. The dough should be tacky (but not sticky), so you may not need 3 full cups of flour (depends on the humidity in the air). It’s better to have too little flour than too much (you can always add more). Knead the dough in the mixer until it is smooth, about 5 minutes. Brush a little EVOO over the dough, cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a floured working surface. Cut the dough into 8 pieces (not gonna lie, my OCD got the better of me and I weighed each piece) . Using a rolling pin, flatten each piece into a 6-8 inch circle about ¼ inch thick. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil into the skillet before adding the disks of dough. Cook the pita for about 30 seconds or until bubbles start to form. Flip the dough over and cook for about a minute, until lightly browned. Flip the dough back over and cook for another minute, until the pita puffs up. Remove from heat and cover with a clean dish towel. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
Now for the best part: chow down on a warm pita! You can make a gyro, or eat your pita along side many a savory Middle Eastern dishes (hello, shawarma), or stuff the pocket with something yummy.
What’s your favorite way to eat pita bread?0