Greetings my Friends.
I really hope you made that hummus from yesterday, because I have perfected the pita bread recipe to go with it!
As I was telling you, I went to visit two of the grandchildren yesterday, and together with their Mom we made hummus and pita bread. The hummus came out fabulous. Eat-it-with-a-spoon fabulous. The pita took three tries. Good thing the hummus was so good. The pita was like Goldilocks and the three bears… the first dough was too wet, the second dough was too dry, the third was just right! I also had to play with the amount of rising time and the level of heat to cook them on. Trial and error in the kitchen is fun, but it can also be expensive! That’s why I’m doing that part for you!
Today I made more pita at home. Yesterday’s was very good, but today’s was so much better. My son Shane said they tasted like “they were right out of a brick oven”, so with a compliment like that, I would say I got it right!
The cast iron frying pan was absolutely the way to go. I used stainless steel yesterday and it didn’t puff quite right. It was magical in the cast iron. How did I ever live without cast iron pans?
So, after perusing dozens of recipes, two failed attempts, one good attempt, and one fabulous baking experience, I feel ready to share my recipe with you. These are delicious for dipping, and the pockets are perfect for sandwiches!
First, I need to thank my girl Sam. I had been telling her I would come over and teach her to bake bread, since she has never done it. Her first choice was pita… something I had never done but wanted to try. She was tolerant of my kitchen mistakes and mess, and we all had a good time. We also both learned how to make pita bread. Now you can too!
In a large mixing bowl pour 1C warm water. Sprinkle 1 pkt active dry yeast over the surface of the water, followed by 1/2t sugar. Gently whisk that together, then whisk in 1/2C bread flour. Let sit uncovered 15 minutes. Into this mix add 2T olive oil, 1t kosher salt, and 2C bread flour. Stir well with wooden spoon until dough starts to come together. Sprinkle some more bread flour over surface of dough and knead with your hands, in the bowl, until a smooth ball forms. Turn it out on a work surface lightly sprinkled with flour. Knead well for two minutes. Only add a bit extra flour at a time, just enough to prevent sticking. Throw a kitchen towel over it and let it rest for 10 minutes. Knead for another two minutes. Put the ball of dough in a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then a kitchen towel. Leave to rise 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
Plop your dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 8 equal pieces with a sharp knife. Roll each into a ball in your hands. Throw the kitchen towel over the balls and let rest 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten each ball with your palm, then use a rolling pin to roll each into an approx 7 inch circle, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.
Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. During the cooking process, I had to adjust the heat down as the skillet got too hot. Once it heats the first time, turn down to medium. But watch things very carefully! Pour 1t olive oil into the skillet and wipe it around with a paper towel. Drop the first dough round in the pan. Cook 30 seconds and flip. Cook 60 to 90 seconds and flip. It should be puffing and getting those little dark brown spots you see on pitas. Cook on first side another 60 or so seconds. If at any time the rounds are getting too browned, turn down your heat, and just keep flipping back and forth every few seconds. You want to be sure it’s cooked and the edges aren’t doughy. I also found sliding the pan off the heat between rounds while I re-oiled the pan was very helpful.
Okay: slide the pan off the heat, pour in 1t olive oil and wipe it around the pan with paper towels. Slide pan back on the heat and drop in next round. Cook as above, repeating process until all 8 rounds are done. As they each finish, move cooked pita to a cooling rack. Do not overlap. Otherwise they will develop condensation on them and get soggy. They can be eaten warm, of course, but when completely cooled slip in a ziplock bag with all the air pressed out and tightly seal.
These are 7 kinds of amazing! Use for anything you would use store bought greek pita or middle eastern flatbread for. You can roll or fold or stuff them. They make great flatbread pizzas and quick toasted garlic bread triangles. They are relatively quick to make, considering yeast is used. Now that I’ve had it homemade, I can’t imagine ever buying store bought pita again! Thank you Sam for suggesting it and letting me use your kitchen. Thank you Nataly and Christopher for all of your help making both the pitas and the hummus. And thank you, my friends, readers, and followers, for enjoying my stories (hopefully) and trying my recipes (really hopefully!)
Thank you for being part of my family!
Note below: my first Food Picture! They were so pretty I just had to! I’m going to try and do much better with photos!