Almost a year ago our favorite Mediterranean restaurant, Mediza, went out of business. I was so sad. They had the best pita bread I’ve ever eaten. Warm, fluffy, clearly homemade and perfect with roasted garlic hummus! The only other Mediterranean restaurant near us (I won’t name names) clearly uses store-bought pita. It’s just awful.
Anyway, I got very excited when I saw this recipe for pita bread on Brown Eyed Baker. It looked just like the pita we longed for from Mediza.
This pita bread is wonderful! I don’t think I’m ever going to go back to store-bought pita ever again!
1 1/2t. Salt
1T. Sugar or honey
1 Packet instant yeast
1 1/4 to 1 1/2C. Water, roughly at room temperature
2T. Olive oil
Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water.
Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place in the bowl of your electric mixer (with the dough hook attachment) and mix on low for 8-10 minutes.
When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. 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 down to release some of the trapped gases 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. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.
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 in. thick – 6 in. in diameter. 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.
Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450 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.
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.
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