Yesterday I finally got around to using up that half box of falafel. I made the falafel and some fresh hummus, then grilled up some bell peppers and onions to serve with them. But I needed something to serve the falafel in, so I made some pita bread too.
I had never made pita pockets before. I had tried naan several times, and it has never come out exactly how I wanted. Luckily, it turns out that pita bread is easier than naan. Homemade pita is softer and tenderer than the store stuff. Here’s the recipe courtesy of the Joy of Cooking:
- 3 c flour
1 1/2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp yeast
2 Tbs melted butter
1 1/4 c warmish water
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the water and butter. Mix to combine.
2. Knead for 10 minutes by hand, or on medium speed in the mixer using a dough hook. (I did the latter.) The dough tends to get sticky. You want it to be a little tacky, but not incredibly sticky. I added extra flour to get it to the right consistency.
3. Spray a bowl with pam, roll the dough around to cover in the oil. Put plastic wrap on top and let the dough sit for about 2 hours.
4. Punch the dough down. Divide it into 8 small balls. Cover with a dish towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.
5. Now it’s time to cook the pita. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. I used a pizza stone, although the book says you can also turn a baking sheet upside down as a cooking surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out each of the 8 balls until they are about 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 of an inch thick.
6. When the oven is hot, spray some water on the pizza stone. Wait 30 seconds. Now put the dough on the pizza stone. I had to work in batches, cooking three pitas at the time.
7. The pitas cook very quickly. What you want is them to inflate into a little balloon, like the pita in the picture above. When they get like that, wait 30 seconds and take them out. When they come out of the oven, they deflate and become pita pockets. It you wait too long, they will not deflate and you will have a pita balloon. Total cooking time is about 2-3 minutes per pocket.
Voila! Homemade pita!