In Greek: πίτα, pronounced PEE-tah
Pita bread is incredibly versatile--you can use as a pocket and stuff with vegetables or your favorite sandwich filling, serve wrapped around traditional Greek souvlaki, cut into triangles and dip into hummus or simply toast and enjoy with breakfast or as a snack.
And although pita bread is readily available in supermarkets, it doesn't compare to making your own. Nothing beats the freshly baked taste of a warm pita bread, and being able to watch them puff up in the oven is just a fun bonus.
Many recipes for homemade pita bread require cooking at very hight heat, and home ovens don't always do the best job. This recipe makes soft, white pita rounds which, to replicate the results of high-heat baking, should be brushed with olive oil and grilled, heated in a skillet or toasted in the oven before using and serving.
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl, dissolve the salt in the remaining 1 cup of warm water.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour and make a well in the center. Add yeast mixture and salt water. Knead with hands for 10 minutes in the bowl.
- Add olive oil and continue to knead until all oil is absorbed. Shape into a ball in the bowl, cover, and place in a warm area to rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down the dough and knead for 5 minutes more.
- Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) and lightly oil baking sheets.
- Take pieces of dough slightly larger than an egg and roll out on a floured surface to a thickness of 3/8 to 1/4 inch. (Feel free to take more or less dough for larger or smaller pita breads.) Prick the bread with a fork in several places.
- Place dough pieces on prepared baking sheets and bake on the lowest oven rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn the pitas over and bake for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place on a tray covered with a clean dishtowel, and then cover the pitas with another clean towel. When thoroughly cooled, pitas can be stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator, or frozen.
- Before using, brown in a lightly oiled frying pan for a few minutes until golden on both sides. You can also grill or toast in the oven.