Pita bread is Middle Eastern bread. It is round bread very similar to Phulka Roti and has a pocket in it. It is widely consumed and goes really well with Humus and falafel sandwiches. They are a bit time consuming but easy to make. The best thing about Pita bread is that they can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for about a week and can be frozen in a freezer bag for about a month. This means you can make it in large quantities at once and use it as and when required.
Preparation Time: 30 to 35 mins
Resting Time: 4 hrs
Cooking Time: 10 mins
1½ tsp active dry yeast
½ tbsp sugar (castor preferred as it dissolves faster)
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup wheat or multi- grain flour plus extra to flour the surface
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Warm water (Approx 3/4th to 1 cup)
Dissolve yeast in about ½ cup of warm water. Sprinkle sugar over it and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes until yeast activates and the mixture gets frothy.
Take a large bowl. Sift both flours and salt into it. Sifting flour ensures that the flours and salt is properly mixed. It also gets rid of any extra lumps.
Make a small well in the center and pour the yeast mixture into it. Now bring the flour from the sides into the center and mix well. Use extra water (very little at a time) to knead into an elastic dough.
Sprinkle some flour onto your working surface. Gently place your dough on to the floured surface and start kneading. Apply pressure of your hands to knead for atleast 10 to 15 minutes to make sure that the dough is kneaded properly and is not elastic any more. Bring the dough together forming into a ball. Greasy your hands lightly with some oil and gently rub them over the rolled dough making sure that the dough is properly coated with oil. This ensures that the dough doesn’t dry out and prevents it to get sticky.
Place the dough into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap or a damp tea towel. Set it aside in a warm dry place for about 3 to 4 hours or until its doubled in size.
Once done, gently punch the dough to release some trapped air. Divide the dough into 4 to 5 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and once again cover with a damp tea towel and let it rest for another 20 to 25 minutes. This helps the dough to be easy to work with as it absorbs more air in it. It also helps your pita bread to puff up easily.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200 °C.
Place your cookie sheet in the middle rack of your oven.
Lightly flour your working surface and roll your dough into thick circles. They should be somewhere between 1/8 th to ¼ th inch thick.
Place as many pita breads as you can on to your baking sheet. Bake for 2 to 4 minutes till the bread puff’s up. Once done, turn the puffed bread over and bake for an extra minute to make sure it’s cooked evenly.
Remove the baking steps until all the pita breads are baked.
Pita bread is ready to be enjoyed!!!
TIP: If storing Pita Bread; let them cool down completely. It can stay in an air–tight container at room temperature for about a week and can stay for upto a month in a freezer. You need to store them in freezer bags if storing in a freezer.
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