I love pita bread. I just think it is so cool to stuff your sandwich stuff into a pocket of bread. I love the ratio of bread to stuffing/filling with pita bread. Kind of like Goldilocks, you know? Not too much bread like regular bread and not too little bread like a wrap. No, a pita is just right.
I think smearing your pita bread into some hummus gives you just the right combination of chewy and creamy in every bite. The problem? I don't like store-bought pita bread. Never have. I like home-made pita bread...the kind you find in restaurants that have gyros and falafels on their menus. I don't go to a lot of those, which means I don't have pita bread very often.
Up until now... (Pita and egg-salad...yum!) Now I have the power of pita at home.
One of my friends in "real life" gave me an awesome recipe for pita bread last week and I couldn't wait to try it. Actually, we were kind of trading recipes...I gave her the English muffin recipe and she reciprocated with her pita bread recipe. Seems like a fair trade to me.
With no excuse other than I wanted to, I gave her recipe a try and it was fabulous. I confess to having messed something up and most of my pitas didn't rise to form pockets, but the flat bread I was left with was so good that no one cared. The entire batch was gone in about ten minutes. Seriously, they were that good.
Oh, did I mention that the recipe was simple, too? Well, it is. See for yourself...this is the recipe exactly as she gave it to me. (And, see? A few of the pockets did rise and give me pita bread...I felt so special.)
1 T. active dry yeast
1 T. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
4 c. bread flour
2 t. salt
1 c. warm water
1 T. olive oil
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 c. of the warm water and set aside, covered, for 15 mins. Dissolve salt in the remaining 1 c. of warm water.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour and make a well in the center. Add yeast mixture and salt water. Knead with hands for 10 minutes in the bowl. Add olive oil and continue to knead until all oil is absorbed. Shape into a ball in the bowl, cover, and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. Punch down the dough and knead for 5 mins more.
Preheat oven to 350 F, and lightly oil baking sheets.
Take pieces of dough slightly larger than and egg and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of 3/8 to 1/4 inch. (For larger or smaller pita bread pieces, take more or less dough). Prick the bread with a fork in several places. *note - this causes a flatbread, if you want pockets, don't prick. (I didn't prick...I don't know what happened.)
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350F on the lowest oven rack for 2-3 mins. then turn the pitas over and bake for another 2-3 mins. * Note: I find they taste so much better if they are brushed with a little melted butter or olive oil and seasoned with a little garlic salt before baking. Remove from oven and place on a tray covered with a clean dishtowel, with another clean towel on top. When thoroughly cooled, pitas can be stored in plastic bags in the fridge, or frozen.
Before using/eating, brown on both sides in a lightly oiled frying pan for a few minutes.
P.S. Did I mention I'm making another batch today? It was that good.