This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern staple, whether you pair it with falafel or dip into some hummus, is light, fluffy and easy and delightful to eat. And, also easy to make—in an oven or a stovetop. Here’s a recipe:
1 cup water, warm
2 tsp active yeast
2½ cups all-purpose flour for the dough, plus some for dusting
2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1. In a bowl, pour a cup of warm water, followed by active yeast. Mix well and let it rest for 5 minutes. The yeast should completely dissolve in the water. The yeast is the star ingredient here, which will make the pita eventually puff up to form its signature pocket appearance.
2. Take flour in a large mixing bowl and add the active yeast and water mixture to it. Throw in some salt and olive oil too. Combine the ingredients in the bowl using your hands until the dough has a rough appearance.
3. Sprinkle some flour on your countertop, platform or any clean work surface and transfer the dough onto it. This is so that the dough does not stick to the platform.
4. Continue to knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it appears smooth and elastic. You can further sprinkle flour on the dough or platform if stickiness persists.
5. Take a large bowl and grease the insides with olive oil. Coat the dough with some olive oil as well and place it in the bowl.
6. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a dishcloth and allow the dough to rise for a couple of hours. Once it has risen, the pita dough can be kept refrigerated for about a week until it is needed.
7. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface. Then, place the inflated dough on the platform. Using the palm of your hands, gently deflate the dough.
8. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 parts. Each part needs to be flattened first with your palms so that they bear the appearance of tiny disks.
9. Using a rolling pin, get the desired size of pita bread you would like, about 8-10 inches wide is the average size. Rotate the disk frequently to get the round shape. Keep flouring and flipping the pita bread as you flatten it, so that it doesn’t stick to the work surface or rolling pin.
If you wish to make it on the stovetop:
10. In a warm cast iron flat frying pan or a flat skillet on medium heat, lightly grease the pan. Place the pita bread and cook for 30-40 seconds on each side. The pita should puff up, else you can press the surface of the bread with a clean towel.
If you wish to make it in an oven:
11. Preheat the oven to 450˚. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack to heat. Place the rolled-out pita breads on the baking sheets and allow to bake for 2-3 minutes, till it fully balloons.
Storing hacks: Pita bread is best served immediately after cooking. Else, it should be stored in an airtight container. While making the pita breads, the cooked pitas should be covered with a clean dishtowel while the remaining pitas are being cooked, else they will deflate.
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