There are few things more satisfying than homemade breads. As evidenced by recipes like Dutch Oven Bread, Homemade Naan and Fry Bread, even the most seemingly complicated breads can be tackled in your own kitchen (and are usually easier than you expect). So when we attempted to make pita bread, we knew that eventually we would have success. We had actually tried this recipe months ago in Tallahassee, to no avail. No blogpost about it = no success. When Will suggested giving it another shot this week, I happily agreed. A different oven and more breadmaking experience should ensure success, right? Right! Because Will totally rocked the pita bread. As we watched in anticipation, waiting for the bread to pop into its round little pockets, there was an unspoken worry that pita bread would continue to allude us and become that one thing we just couldn’t make. But alas, after holding our breath, it started to rise and puff like it should and we watched in amazement. After letting the bread cool, we enjoyed munching on the pita, which admittedly wasn’t quite the flaky pita you might get at a Mediterranean restaurant, but was warm and chewy and fluffy. If you’re afraid to try baking bread, I maybe wouldn’t start with this recipe, but if you’ve tried some of others, give this a shot!
Cooking Notes: As with most breads, we didn’t tamper with the recipe because usually measurements are pretty exact. We’ll be making it again, so we may mess with how long we bake it/how much we bake at once, but otherwise, this recipe is pretty successful!
Homemade Pita Bread (adapted from Budget Bytes; serves 6-8)
1 1/8 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
In a small bowl combine the warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit for 5 minutes or until a foam develops on top. Once a foam develops on top, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flour (half of a cup of which is the whole wheat) and the salt. Stir so they are evenly combined.
Add the small bowl of liquid to the bowl with the flour, stirring to combine. Continue mixing in flour until it forms a loose ball that you can no longer stir with a spoon. Turn the ball of dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead in more flour until a soft and pliable ball forms. You should have used around 3 cups of flour total and kneaded the dough for at least 3 minutes.
Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover loosely and let sit to rise for an hour or until doubled in size. Once it has doubled, punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Stretch the dough into a log and cut it into 6 or 8 equal sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and then roll it out into a flat, 6 inch diameter circle.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and let the dough circles rest as the oven continue to heat. Place a damp cloth over the dough circles to they don’t dry out. When the oven reaches 500 degrees, place the dough circles on a wire rack (as many will fit) and place the rack in the oven. Watch the circles puff up as they bake. When the circle has completely inflated but not turned brown yet, remove it from the oven and put in the next batch. (If the pitas cook until they’re golden and crispier, they may be more likely to retain their shape when they cool). As you’re removing pita from the oven, stack them on a plate and wrap with a damp cloth to trap the steam as they cool. If you don’t eat them all right away, they store well in the refrigerator for a few days!