The extra hot oven (500 degrees) creates a pocket of steam inside the bread that leaves a very convenient cavity once cooled. Stuff the bread full of your favorite sandwich fillings and you've got a quick lunch that's good to go.
I used a little bit of whole wheat flour in my recipe but feel free to use all regular if you wish. The only change I'd make if making these again is to divide the dough into 6 rounds rather than 8 to yield a thicker pocket. But, hey, who needs all that thick bread anyway. What you stuff inside of it is the real prize.
Total Recipe cost: $0.78
Servings Per Recipe: 8 pita rounds
Cost per serving: $0.10
Prep time: 15 min. Rise time: 1 hr. Cook time: 20 min. Total: 1 hr. 35 min.
Recipe adapted from Peppy's Pita Bread on Allrecipes.com
|1 1/8th cup||warm water||$0.00|
|1 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.10|
|1/2 cup||whole wheat flour||$0.08|
|2.5 cups||all-purpose flour||$0.37|
STEP 1: 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.
STEP 2: In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of flour (half whole wheat in my case) and the salt. Stir them so they are evenly combined. Add the small bowl of liquid to the bowl with the flour. Stir to combine.
STEP 3: 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 (but not sticky) ball forms. You should have used around 3 cups of flour total and kneaded the dough for at least 3 minutes.
STEP 4: Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl, cover loosely and let sit to rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
STEP 5: Punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Stretch the dough into a log and cut it into 8 (or 6) equal sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and then roll it out into a flat, 6 inch diameter circle.
STEP 6: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and let the dough circles rest as the oven comes up to temp. Place a damp cloth over the dough circles so they do not dry out. When the oven is hot enough, place the dough circles on a wire rack (a couple at a time) and place the rack in the oven. Watch the circles puff up as they bake. When the circle has completely inflated but not yet turned brown you can remove it from the oven and put in the next batch. If you let the pitas cook until golden brown they will be crispier and may retain the inflated shape as they cool.
STEP 7: As you remove the pitas from the oven, stack them on a plate and cover with a damp cloth. The trapped steam will soften them as they cool. Once completely cooled, store the pitas in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
Step By Step Photos
Combine the water, yeast and sugar in one bowl and one cup of flour plus the salt in a larger bowl.
When the yeast water becomes frothy, add the olive oil.
Pour the bowl of wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour and salt. Stir to combine then continue adding flour until it forms a loose ball that you can no longer stir with a spoon.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead in flour until it forms a soft, pliable, not sticky ball. Use approximately 3 cups of flour total and knead for at least 3 minutes.
Let the dough rise until double then punch down and stretch into a log.
Cut the dough into 8 pieces.
Form each piece of dough into a ball and then roll it out into a 6 inch circle.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and let the dough rest as the oven warms. When it's hot and ready, place a couple dough circles on a wire rack. Place the rack in the oven and watch them inflate...
Very fun to watch... Pull the pitas out and put in the next batch (be careful with the hot rack). Stack the cooked pitas on a plate and cover with a damp cloth as they cool.
This really was a fun project but I'll admit, I think the naan is still my go-to flat bread. The flavor of the naan is so much more complex because of the yogurt and it's texture is so pillowy soft... Mmmm.
That being said, I'm not going to have a hard time eating these pitas. I had actually bought a pack of pita last week ($1.99 per pack of 6, $0.33 each) and the home made has a much better flavor and texture. The fresh pita made the store bought taste and feel like cardboard. Ick.
One thing that I do love about pita bread is it's unique ability to help me scoop large quantities of hummus into my mouth. Something about the pocket shape... it just forms the perfect hummus shovel :)