Pita Bread

Back when I was living in a house with two men and a cat, we used to do family dinners on Sundays. Said men are part Greek, big fans of being Greek, eating Greek, talking about being Greek, and one of them even visiting Greece. We used to do these huge delicious (Manson) family dinners of fresh falafel, pita, red onion, cucumber, tomato, hummus, feta, tzatziki, and lettuce. I loved these times of sitting around our coffee table, sitting on the floor with our chosen family, laughing and eating copious amounts of fresh food. Confession: once upon a time, I didn't own a rolling pin. Pretty weird for someone who has always loved baking, right? I mean, I had a gorgeous granite one at my parent's house, but that was technically my mom's (I've never seen her touch it, let alone use it). I swear, these two things connect... One day, we decided to make homemade pita, because, duh, it's way better. And we rolled it out with a floured wine bottle. And it was delicious.

Three years later, I give you the recipe. Only because I've made it plenty of times, and attempted to substitute better flours, like spelt, rice, and whole wheat, but just keep reverting back to my friend AP. Some recipes are meant to be left alone in their simplicity. This is one of them.

Pita Bread
8 pitas

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups water, divided
2 tablespoons good olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water (100-110 degrees) in your mixing bowl. If you are using Rapid Rise Yeast, simply add yeast to dry ingredients, and add the water all at once when called for. Add the honey. Stir. Add the flour, salt, olive oil, and remaining water. Either stir together with a dough hook in your stand mixer, or go the traditional route and use a wooden spoon. The mixture should form a ball. If some of the flour does not stick to the ball, you can use more water (up to about 1/4 cup). Once all ingredients have formed the dough ball, either need on low speed with dough hook for 10 minutes, or place the ball on a surface and knead for 10 minutes.

Coat a bowl lightly with olive oil. Form the dough into a ball, place seam side down in bowl, and roll the ball around the bowl so it is coated in oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and leave to rise in a warm location until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

Punch the dough down, to release the trapped gases, and divide into 8 pieces. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and put a baking stone in to preheat as well, on the middle rack (you can use a cookie sheet upside down). Roll each of the 8 pieces into a ball, cover with the damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes so they are easier to shape. 

Coat a work surface with a little flour, grab a ball, and coat that in a little flour, as well. Use a combination of a rolling pin (or wine bottle) and your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. I would shoot for 1/8-1/4 inch thickness. If the dough is giving you problems, let it rest a bit longer. I've never had an issue with it.

If you don't like blistering, you can spray your work surface with a mist of water and close the oven for 30 seconds. I like blistering, but this recipe has never really blistered too much for me.

Shove as many flattened pitas as you can on your hot baking stone, close the oven, and take them out 4 minutes later. You can leave them in a little longer if you like crispier, darker pita bread.

Eat one while they are still hot, while you are baking the rest.

We love using these traditionally for falafel and veggies, but we also shoved protein salad (recipe coming soon) in them, and that was amazing, as well.

Due to technical issues :( this is the only photo I have to show you of pita bread. An old polaroid my sister took of me at Slasher, the first time I made it. With greek bro in the background.

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