I spent my college years interning in the PR departments of a number of different non-profits and publishing companies. My sophomore year I got a job in the media relations office of one of the major teacher’s unions. I absolutely loved that job. My work was interesting and our bosses were fantastic—clever, charismatic, and a lot of fun. In the middle of the summer, the union held their annual meeting and we (the interns) were flown out to New Orleans where we each got our own executive suite and a generous per diem. The work was minimal and we spent most of that week going out for drinks with our bosses and having lavish dinners at some incredible New Orleans restaurants.
It was, needless to say, the ultimate internship. But I would be lying if I said that it was not without some annoyances--or one annoyance, to be more exact. She was one of the PR reps and she was good at one thing—driving everyone around her crazy, from our bosses to the mailroom guys. We interns especially hated her because she was constantly passing her work off on us and then taking the credit. Fortunately she was also prone to getting sick, and could usually be counted on to miss at least one or two days of work a week due to such brilliant excuses as “my closet pole collapsed today so I have to stay home and put away my clothing” or “my wrist is sore.”
We all used to share stories about her during lunch and when she wasn’t around (which was often). One afternoon, our boss revealed the nickname that she and a lot of the other veterans had for her. They called her Pita, because she was such a Pain In The A**. We giggled at this and quickly adopted it among our own conversations.
It’s been quite a few years since then, but I’ve never forgotten Pita and I always think of her when I hear the word. It’s a fact of life that all offices seem to have one or two Pitas on staff. They can be impossible to deal with, but can certainly be entertaining to commiserate over (especially during lunch!). Why not whip up a batch of these delicious pita breads to share with your nice coworkers. They’re wonderful plain, filled with salad or meat, or toasted and dipped in hummus. Unlike dealing with the office Pita, baking these is a breeze.
Makes 8 pita bread rounds
2 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup warm water
Place your baking stone or tile on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat as high as it will allow (around 500 degrees)
1. Whisk the yeast, sugar, and water together and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast starts to froth.
2. Sift the flour and salt together and pour into the base of your electric mixer with the dough hook attached.
3. Pour in the olive oil and water/yeast mixture and knead using the dough hook. It will come together. Continue kneading for 5 more minutes until the dough is smooth or elastic. You might have to add a bit more water or flour to get the right consistency. Once it is ready, turn out onto a flour surface and form into a ball. Place in a greased bowl (use olive oil), turn once to coat and cover with a clean towel. Let rise for one hour or until doubled in bulk.
4. Punch the dough down and divide in to 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and use a floured rolling pin to roll out to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise again for 20 minutes.
5. When ready to bake, gently lift each round and lay on your baking stone. You can do about 2-3 at a time. Shut the oven door and let bake for 3-6 minutes or until puffed up with just a hint of color. Use a spatula or tongs to remove from the oven and repeat with the rest of your dough. Wrap in a warm, clean dishtowel until serving to keep warm.