Home Bread-Bakers v104.n030.5

pita bread

"Gail Ouda" <ouda@magnaspeed.net>
Sun, 27 Jun 2004 14:21:05 -0500
Hello Mike, I make pita bread often and here is the recipe I use, somewhat 
a combination of recipes from books and my MIL's way of making it, as well 
as my own......I think one of the keys to good homemade pita bread is first 
cooking it on the stovetop before baking in the oven.

Pita Bread
6 c. flour
4 1/2 t. active dry yeast (or 4 t. instant yeast)
2 t. salt
1 T. light olive oil (or vegetable oil)
2 c. warm water

In large bowl, mix flour, yeast and salt. Add water, then oil, and stir 
with big spoon until water is all mixed in, then start kneading with hands, 
adding more warm water a little at a time if it is too dry. Knead for at 
least 5 minutes, until dough is elastic and shiny. Shape into ball, place 
in lightly oiled plastic bowl, and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Let rest 
at least one hour in warm place. Dough should rise almost double.

Place large towel or blanket on table. Squeeze baseball-sized balls of 
dough, reshape into round balls, place on towel and cover with towel or 
blanket. Let rest 10 min. On floured surface (wooden cutting board works 
well), roll each ball with rolling pin, flipping over and rolling on 
opposite sides to make rolling easier. Roll each ball until 6-12" in 
diameter. Return onto towel. Flour surface and repeat with next round of 
dough. Let rounds rest at least 30 minutes, covered by towel (or blanket).

Preheat oven broiler, with rack at 2nd position from top.  Heat large 
shallow skillet on top of stove to medium high heat. Place dough on skillet 
and cook until bottom is lightly browned. The dough may start puffing 
up--this is normal. Place on top rack of oven towards back. Watch carefully 
because pita bread will burn easily under broiler. Rotate it every once in 
awhile so that it browns evenly. It should puff and form a pocket. Do the 
same with remaining dough, and remove from oven when light brown. You may 
have 2-4 pieces of pita bread in the oven at once.  Just make sure to keep 
rotating them.

Place hot bread on towel, piling bread on top of each other as you take 
them out. Let cool and keep covered with towel until all bread is baked. If 
you are not going to eat all of it that same day, pita bread keeps very 
well in the freezer (in a plastic bag). Just reheat individual pitas in 
toaster oven, heated oven or microwave as needed.