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Condiments & Staples
Homemade Pita Breads

homemade pita bread

Homemade Pita Breads 

 

There is nothing quite like the satisfaction of making your own wholesome fresh pita breads. They do need a bit of preparation and you must be very present when it comes to the cooking, but they really are quite simple, and nothing tops the flavour (and smell) you will be rewarded with.  

The secret of getting them to puff up is to have a very hot oven with a pizza stone on the bottom shelf. If you don’t have a pizza stone you can use a large oven tray, but if this is the case heat the oven up to its highest setting.  

I like to use a mixture of wholemeal and white flour, but if you prefer not to use the wholemeal flour just replace that measure with more white flour, keeping in mind that you may need a bit extra when it comes to kneading time. 

If you can source OO flour for these pita breads it will give you a much nicer consistency, but it is not imperative. 

 

Makes 12  

 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups warm water 

  • 2 teaspoons yeast 

  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar 

  • 2 cups wholemeal flour 

  • 1 teaspoons salt 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 

  • 3 cups OO flour, or plain white flour 

 

Method 

  1. Place the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast and then the sugar. Briskly whisk together for thirty seconds to activate the yeast, then add the wholemeal flour, salt and olive oil, mixing in well. 

  2. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place. 

  3. Add two cups of the OO flour, mixing it in with a wooden spoon. Lightly flour your bench surface and turn the dough out onto it.  

  4. Knead the bread, slowly adding the remaining cup of OO flour as needed. You don’t want to add it too fast; I like to knead and sprinkle the flour in as the dough gets too sticky to work. You may need extra flour; it all depends on the strength, type and freshness of the flour you are using and the humidity of the day.  

  5. Knead the bread for around 10 minutes until it forms a nice smooth ball that feels springy to the touch – a way of testing this is by gently pushing into the dough with your finger – if it springs back it is done.  

  6. Place into a lightly oiled large bowl and cover. Leave to sit in a warm place for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. 

  7. Preheat oven to 220C and place a pizza stone (or two side by side if you have a large oven) on the bottom shelf. 

  8. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide into twelve evenly sized portions - I do this by forming the dough into a flat circle and then marking quarters on top with a knife, and then dividing each quarter into three, to make twelve pieces. 

  9. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, and then use a rolling pin to roll each ball out into a flat circular shape roughly 5ml thick and 15 – 20 cms round. 

  10. Leave to rest for 20 minutes. 

  11. To cook the breads, you want to minimise the amount of time the oven is left oven to avoid letting hot air out, so get completely set up first. Make sure you have a fish slice or something similar on hand to transfer the breads into the oven, and a plate covered with a tea towel to stack the breads up on to once they are cooked. 

  12. Use the fish slice to slide under the first bread and quickly transfer it onto your hot pizza stone. Close the oven door immediately and wait for 2 - 3 minutes. You want the pizza stone to be hot enough so that the pita bread puffs up and cooks slightly on the bottom – getting the timing right is something you might have to experiment with depending on your oven. Note that you will only cook the breads on one side. 

  13. When the first pita bread is ready remove it from the oven. Place onto the tea towel and cover with the other half of the tea towel to keep it warm. Repeat until all the breads are cooked. 

  14. Serve warm with hummus and falafel or let cool for further use. I like to make a large batch and freeze them, so I have them on hand for pita chips, mini pizzas or pita pockets to accompany a meal.  

rolling out pita breads
cooking pita bread on a pizza stone

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