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Homemade Pita

Well, we’re all in quarantine (which I sure hope is over by the time you’re reading this), and it seems like the most popular activity these days is baking! It’s such a hassle to go out shopping that I’ve been trying my hand at things I never thought to bother with at home. Hot pretzels, laffa bread, and our favorite, pita bread, all made from scratch, have become new menu regulars.

Though you might wonder how you can make pita in your home oven, it’s extremely simple, and since the bread bakes for just three to four minutes, it can be baked just before eating. You may never want to go back to store bought.

Tips:

This recipe starts with making a “sponge.” This method produces a lighter texture and keeps the bread fresh for longer.

A hot oven and baking surface is key. Make sure to preheat the oven with the tray fully inside.

Spraying the dough with a little bit of water at the beginning of baking helps the pita puff up nicely.

Homemade Pita

YIELDS 8 PITAS

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 packet (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 212 cups flour (plus some extra for kneading), divided
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 112 tsp salt

In a large bowl, place warm water, yeast, sugar, and 1 cup flour. Whisk together and allow to rest for 15–20 minutes.

Add oil, salt, and remaining flour. Mix with a spoon until the dough is too thick to continue mixing. Turn the dough onto the counter and continue to knead until nice and smooth. You may need to add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Clean the bowl and grease lightly. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1–2 hours until doubled in size.

Once dough has risen, punch it down and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and lay on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475°F (240°C). If you have a baking/ pizza stone, allow it to heat in the oven. If not, use a cookie sheet turned upside down.

Roll each ball of dough into a 6–8-inch (15–20-cm) circle approximately 14-inch (12-cm) thick. Don’t roll it too thin or your pitas won’t puff up. When the oven is heated, place 2–3 pitas on the pizza stone or baking sheet. Using a spray bottle, spray each pita with some water.

Bake for 3–4 minutes. The pitas should have a few brown spots and be puffing up. Remove from oven and cover with a towel until ready to serve.

(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 697)

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