Pita Bread

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The other day I was talking to my older sister, and somehow the conversation turned to baking, and from there it turned to the topic of tonight's recipe: pita bread. I only really have one memory of pita growing up, and it just so happens to be of my sister eating a pita stuffed with sprouts and other stuff. A stuffed sandwich: I thought it was the coolest thing ever. In the years that followed I didn't give pita much thought, until I served an LDS mission in Switzerland, and was introduced to the Turkish food Doener Kebap, which is very similar to a Greek gyro. Both of those sandwiches are a pita stuffed with meat, vegetation, and sauce, and are some of the most delicious foods in the world.
So, back to the point of my story. My sister shared with me a recipe for pita, which has since become one of my favorite bread recipes, and I made it five times within the first 3 weeks. Each batch makes 10 discs of deliciousness.

Pita Bread

Step 1:
Dissolve 2 1/4 tsp yeast and 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup lukewarm water.
Allow to sit for 15 minutes, or until very foamy.

Step 2:
In the bowl of your mixer combine 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour and 1 tsp salt.

Step 3:
Add the yeasty water to the flour, along with the remaining 1/2 cup water. Mix well with dough attachment.

Step 4:
Knead on medium speed for 10 minutes.

Step 5:
Gather dough into a ball, cover, and let rise for 2 hours.

For pictures and further instructions on making dough please refer to my pizza dough recipe.

Before you start working with the dough, preheat your oven to 500°F. It may seem like a very high temperature, and it is, but it is the key to making your pita have a pocket in them, which is what we want.

After rising, the dough will look like this.

Step 6:
Gather the dough into a ball.
I often weigh the dough when I am going to be dividing it so that each piece is the same size.

Step 7:
Divide the dough into 10 equal-sized portions and roll each one into a ball. Store the balls under a plastic bag so they don't dry out.

Step 8:

On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 5" disc, 1/4" thick.
Resist the urge to make larger pita by rolling the ball into a larger circle. Doing so will make the dough too thin, and will create a cracker upon baking.

Step 9:
 If you are using a pizza stone, move it to the bottom rack.
Arrange three dough discs on the stone (my sister does up to 5 on a cookie sheet).

Step 10:
 Bake for 4 minutes, then flip and bake for another 2 minutes.
After about 2 minutes, the pita will seem to inflate. This is good: this is what creates the pocket in the middle of your pita. Mine often then pop and deflate while in the oven, but they still have a pocket.

Step 11:
 Remove to a rack and consume, or let cool and bag for up to a week at room temperature.

Pita Bread
1 cup lukewarm water, divided
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in 1/2 cup water. Let sit for 15 minutes, or until very foamy. Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and the remaining water and mix with dough hook until combined, then increase the speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes. Gather dough into a ball, cover, and let rise 2 hours. Preheat oven to 500°F and move rack to lowest position. Divide the dough into 10 equal-sized pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 5" disc, 1/4" thick. Arrange 3 at a time on a pizza stone or cookie sheet. Bake for 4 minutes, then flip and bake an additional 2 minutes. Remove to a rack. Enjoy warm, or place in an airtight container for up to a week.

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