April 29, 2012
It's Greek recipe week on Simply Sweet Justice!
There are many things that I make at home, like yogurt, jams, bread, pizza, and ice cream. Generally, once I start making something at home, it's rare that I'll go for the store-bought version. The homemade versions just taste so much more flavorful, and they are healthier because they aren't laden with preservatives or other ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. Pita bread is one of those items that turn out so much more delicious at home.
It's easier than you think to make pita bread. If you have a bread machine, put it to work. Your stand mixer can also make pita making easy peasy. Don't have a bread machine or a stand mixer? No worries, you can still make this by hand. And, once you make 'em, you can freeze them, too.
You can use this pita bread for so many different things, like sandwiches, gyros, mini pizzas, or even pita chips with hummus. Enjoy!
Yields 4-8 breads
3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 tsp. (0.25 ounce) salt
2 tsp. (0.22 ounce) instant yeast
2 tbsp. (1 ounce) extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups cool water (65-75°F)
Combine all ingredients in a bread machine (use the dough setting), mixing bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook.
If using a bread machine, use the 1 pound dough setting, and remove the dough after it finishes rising in the bread machine.
If kneading by hand, mix until the ingredients form a ball, and then turn the ball onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 12 to 15 minutes. If using a stand mixer, mix the ingredients for about 1 minute on slow speed and 10 minutes on medium. The dough should be soft and pliable. If you used the "hand kneading" or stand mixer option, place the dough into a clean bowl, mist with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for about 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Place a baking stone in the bottom rack of the oven, and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Divide the dough into 4 to 8 pieces. Lightly round each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
Roll out each piece of dough with a rolling pin into a circle that it approximately 1/4 inch thick (the circle will be between 6 to 12 inches in diameter, depending on the number). If the dough is stubborn, let it "relax" and return to it in a few minutes. When all of the pieces are rolled out, let them rest uncovered f for 10 minutes before baking.
Spritz the baking stone very lightly with water and place as many pitas on it as will fit without overlapping. Lower the oven temperature to 450°F and bake the pitas for about 3 minutes, or until they balloon.
After the pitas have fully expanded, remove from them oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack. Do not wait for them to become brown or darker in color because they will get too crispy. Bake the remaining dough in the same manner.
Source: Directly adapted from Peter Reinhart's Crust and Crumb: Master Formulas for Serious Bread Bakers