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Pita Bread

Pita bread is a staple of the Middle East. It goes by different names in various countries - Peda, Pide, Pitta, Ramadan Bread. It is flat bread that puffs up when baked on the bottom of a hot oven*. The hollow inside is perfect to fill with stir-fried or grilled foods. You can also use pita to shovel food from the plate to your mouth!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 20 pita pockets
Author Betsy Oppenneer

Ingredients

  • 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
  • cups warm water about 110 degrees
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 4 cups unbleached flour

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add salt and 2 cups flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
  2. Gradually add flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  4. Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 20 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rest on work surface for 10 minutes.
  6. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6-inch circle. Place the circle on 6-inch squares of buttered parchment paper (parchment paper makes getting the breads from the rising surface to the oven easier).
  7. Cover dough with a tightly woven towel and let rise 30 minutes.
  8. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If you have a baking stone, preheat 30 minutes before baking.
  9. Pita bread is best baked on a preheated baking stone placed on the lowest shelf in the oven. If you do not have a stone, preheat a heavy-duty, non-stick baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes. The floor of the oven can be used, but is an awkward place to work and may result in burns either to you or the bread.
  10. Lift dough rounds by parchment paper and flip over onto the stone or baking sheet. Peel off paper. Place 4 or 5 rounds of dough in the oven at a time. Bake 5 minutes. They should be puffy, pale in color, and flexible.
  11. Immediately remove from the oven and wrap in a towel to cool. Press the air out of the pita while it is still warm.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: Pita bread is best eaten fresh. They can be torn in half to fill, but I find it easier to cut them with scissors. To store, wrap in plastic wrap then place in a plastic bag in the freezer. Thaw and reheat in a 350-degree oven, wrapped in foil for 10 min.