Pita bread is tastiest when home made. And the best way to truly enjoy it is to make it fresh and consume immediately. In short the recipe is very simple and basic; Knead, rest, roll, rest and cook. I personally prefer doing pitas on a cast iron skillet rather than in the oven. This recipe yields about 10 pitas of 6″.
- One cup warm water (not hot)
- 2 Teaspoons (7-8 gm) of Active dry or instant yeast
- 2½ – 3 cups of Flour
- 2 Teaspoons salt
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 2 Teaspoons olive oil (optional)
- Mix the yeast and sugar into the water, and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 ½ cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt and olive oil (if using). Mix until a shaggy dough is formed. (If you are using instant yeast just mix it with the dry ingredients and then add the water to reach the shaggy dough stage).
- Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto a clean work surface and knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing (don’t add more than the last half cup you have kept aside). It’s better to use too little flour than too much.
- Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and rub oil into it making sure you cover up onto the sides as well. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it’s coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours depending on your yeast. (If you are using instant yeast you do not need to do this step and you can divide the dough directly to keep aside for rolling out)
- Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a damp kitchen towel until you roll them out.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 7-8 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. The pitas will shrink a little when you place them on the kitchen towel. Lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if its starting to stick.
- Lay the rolled out pitas on a kitchen towel and cover them with a damp towel and let them rest till they rise.
- Heat a cast iron Skillet (you can also use a heavy bottom pan and even a traditional tawa) gently with a flat spatula lift one edge of the pita and lift it in your palms. They will feel very light and fluffy now. Place onto the hot skillet and cook on one side till you see bubbles form and slight browning of the underside. Flip the pita and cook on the other side for another 30 second. The pita should start puffing up by now. If not help it by pressing a little with your spatula. Flip the Pita one last time and it will puff up into a ball. Remove from heat and store on a napkin lined surface till you serve them. They keep very well in a large casserole as well.
- Eat them hot and fresh or store them. The can be kept in the fridge or even frozen. Make sure you cool them completely before you place them in zip locks to store.