Easy Homemade Pita Bread


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.



Pita Bread
Makes 8 pita bread rounds

Ingredients
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


To make:
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.

13 comments:

  1. These look awesome! Unfortunately I can't commiserate with my coworkers about our Pita, as I don't know that we all share the same opinion of her...But it's good to know everyone seems to have one!

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  2. You should definitely try the no-knead bread...and I'm going to have to try this! I love pita bread!

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  3. Yum, looks so good. I never do much bread making...I think its time. Maybe this would go well with the Greek salad I posted? :)

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  4. these sound great and super easy! I'll have to give them a try, maybe I'll use 50/50 whole wheat to bread flour... hopefully they still come out good!

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  5. I'm obsessed with my pita bread but have never made it from scratch. Thanks for the motivation!

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  6. Will it develop pockets on its own?

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  7. Hi Kai,

    Yes, the pockets will develop as part of the baking process. Moisture in the dough causes steam which makes the pitas puff up in the oven, creating a "pocket" inside. Just tear off a little piece like you would a packaged pita and you'll be able to access the pocket. it's great for stuffing with salad, meat, grilled veggies...

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  8. Hi, These look great! I found your actual post almost unreadable unfortunately because of the striped background and dark gray type.

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  9. Ah - I just reloaded the page. This time it displayed with the proper background! Much more readable.

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  10. I tried making these today, and they didn't get all pockety on the inside. I'm not sure why...they're lovely little pita-shaped rolls basically. They're tasty and I was able to pita-fy one by removing some of the insides....I'm going to try again in a few days. Maybe if I add some extra moisture to the oven to promote the steam...?

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  11. Hi Anna,

    I would perhaps suggest trying a bit more water to the dough itself during the kneading process before rising and baking. The steam needs to come from within in order to make the pockets. Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out!

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  12. Hi,

    Do you need to have a baking stone or tile for these? Could I just use a heavy nonstick baking sheet?

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  13. Hi Anon,

    You can definitely use a heavy baking sheet! It doesn't have to be nonstick (probably better if it isn't, actually). Just place it on the oven rack the same way you would the tile or baking stone. And note that you because of the high heat, the baking sheet may warp slightly and make a snapping or popping sound when it does, but don't let it scare you. Once it cools down it should also go back to its normal shape.

    Also as a tip, unglazed ceramic tiles can be purchased cheaply (think $5) at hardware or home improvement stores and can be used for baking bread or pizza. Just make sure they're unglazed!

    Thanks for stopping by.

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