pita bread

like most baked goods, freshly baked breads are no comparison to store bought breads(or god forbid, deli breads), which have a large amount of preservatives in them to keep the bread fresh. pita is no different. Pita, is a delicacy when eaten fresh and hot out of the oven. pita goes great with almost anything for example hummus, toasted with cheese panini style, or just nutella (yummy).

It's hard to find good pita bread in new york, unless you go to a restaurant that has fresh pita breads made daily. growing up in a household where pita breads are an essential part of everyday meal, i have decided to take the plunge and make them at home. browsing online, i came across many recipes which were surprisingly easy to follow.

it took several attempts to get the pita just right; first they came out too thin to my taste and then they were missing some flavor. after more research, i have noticed that salt and sugar were a big variable from recipe to recipe. on my next attempt i have decided to add sugar and more salt. i also rolled my dough thicker, to about 1/4" (if you like your pita bread on the thinner side, roll them out to 1/8" thick). they came out perfect! so i made plenty more and froze them for future use.

1. good pita bread should be soft and pliable not brittle or dry so do not over bake them. they are ready as soon as they puff out not a second after.
2. as soon as you remove the baked pita from the oven, place in a container and cover with a dump towel.
3. do not leave pita breads uncovered they will dry quickly.
4. for storage, keep the pita breads in plastic bag as soon as they come out from the oven and then put in the freezer.

5. to defrost microwave for about 10 seconds and let it defrost, or leave it covered with kitchen towel at room temperature for about fifteen minutes.

3 cups bread flour or all purpose flour
½ tsp instant yeast (or 1 tsp active dry yeast combined with a tbs sugar and ¼ cup warm water till foamy)
1 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar (if using instant yeast and you not active dry yeast)
1 cup warm water (reduce the water by ¼ cup if using active dry yeast)

sift the flour and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle.
add yeast (or pour yeast/water mixture) and remaining water into the well.
using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. knead until you have a smooth, springy dough. about 10 minutes.
place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it.
cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands - this is called punching down the dough.
divide into 5 balls and keep them in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth.
take each ball at the time and roll it into a 6 inch circle and 1/4 inch thickness.
prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
place the circles on the baking sheets. cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot for another 30 min.
preheat your oven to 500F (270C). if you have a baking stone, place it in the oven to pre-heat thoroughly.
place the baking sheet straight on the baking stones and bake till the the pita bread puff up (about 3-5 minutes).
leave them in the oven no more than one minute after they puff up even though they might not have much color to them.
place the baked pita bread in a container and cover with a dump towel.


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