So I’ve tried exactly two recipes for pita bread before trying this one and ever since I have stuck to this one. Firstly it is so easy to make. There’s no need of a double-rise and there is no waiting of hours before you can make the bread. Only an hour and you’re done. Secondly, and the most important reason for me is that this bread freezes well and is really soft after warming for a few seconds in the microwave oven. It is just like fresh bread out of the oven (or in this case from the stove top). You also have an option to either bake the bread or just try to puff it on a stove top. The original recipe calls for baking but I found that cooking the bread in a regular pan puffs it up – always.
Just make sure that you knead the dough very nicely as it will increase the elasticity of the dough and make it smooth to work with. After kneading, divide the dough in 6-10 balls. I like dividing my dough in 8 pieces. They make a medium sized pita and it’s good for filling it up with shawarma filling or falafel. You can also just eat your pita while it’s still warm with a dip like hummus or just plain olive oil…mmm. Make sure to roll out your dough balls with an even thickness. This will help puff them up. I usually use a rolling pin with equal sized rings on it so that the dough rolls out evenly.
Then just let the rolled out bread sit for 30-40 minutes
Make sure you flour the surface adequately so the dough doesn’t stick on the surface. Also make sure to cover the rolled out bread with a muslin cloth or just a plastic sheet so that the upper surface doesn’t dry out. Once the bread has puffed up a bit, you have a choice to either bake the bread in the oven or just cook it on stove-top in a regular pan. I like cooking in the pan, as some of my pita doesn’t puff up in the oven for some reason. But then again I tried baking the bread in the oven only once. Go ahead with whatever suits you.
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
3-3 1/2 cups flour (the amount will depend on the humidity level)
Dissolve the yeast in water and keep it for 5 minutes in the bowl of your mixer or the bowl that you will be preparing the dough in. When the yeast proofs (forms bubbles), add in the salt and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix thoroughly with dough hook attachment of the mixer or a wooden spoon. Gradually add in the remaining flour till a shay mass has been formed. The quantity of flour will vary according to the humidity of your kitchen.
Knead the dough for about 8 minutes until it becomes elastic and smooth. Add more flour if the dough is sticky.
Now turn the dough on a well floured surface and divide into 8-10 pieces, 6 if you want larger sized bread. Form balls. Flatten out each ball with a rolling pin. Be careful to keep an even thickness of a 1/4 inch. This is a necessary step if you are baking in an oven so that all the bread puffs up simultaneously. Let rest on floured surface until slightly puffed up. This will take around 30-40 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Flip the rounds of dough upside down on a baking sheet with the help of a bi spatula. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the bread has a light golden surface.
Alternatively, heat a non stick pan. Flip one round of dough on the hot pan an press gently with the spatula. Start pressing from the edges and then when it starts puffing up work your way to the center. The whole bread will then puff up. After a few seconds flip to the other side for browning a bit. Don’t cook for long.
You can freeze after cooling the bread and it will keep for around 3 weeks. Just thaw it a bit before putting in the microwave oven for 40 seconds for reheating. Or you can also wet the bread a little on each side and warm it up in a pan on the stove top. The bread can be refrigerated in an air tight bag for around two weeks.
Amount: 6-10 pita breads according to size
Preparation Time: Approximately an hour and a half