Pita is a fundamental element of Middle Eastern cuisine, but it is also excellent to accompany dishes from other traditions. If you want to try your hand at the recipe of this bread, you have to prepare and work the dough and then bake each sandwich individually. Your time and effort will be amply rewarded by the fragrance and taste of the freshly baked pita.
- 7 g of active dry yeast
- 240 ml of hot water
- 570 g of flour 00
- 7 g of salt
- 15 ml of extra virgin olive oil
Part 1 of 3: Prepare the Dough
Step 1. Mix the yeast, 230g 00 flour and water in a bowl
Pour 7 g of active dry yeast, 240 ml of water and 230 g of 00 flour into a large bowl. Take an electric mixer and mix the ingredients on medium speed. Keep stirring until you get a spongy dough.
If you have a mixer, pour the ingredients into the mixer. Alternatively, you can pour them into a bowl and knead them with the electric hand mixer
Step 2. Add the oil, salt and remaining flour
Weigh 7 g of salt, measure 15 ml of extra virgin olive oil and pour them into the bowl. Finally add the rest of the flour.
Don't worry if the dough is slightly sticky. You can add more flour to give it the correct consistency
Step 3. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes
If you are using the mixer, use the hook and set it to medium speed. Alternatively, you can knead the bread by hand. Crush the dough, then turn it over and mash it again. Continue like this for about 6 minutes. Once ready, the dough will have a soft, elastic and slightly sticky consistency.
- Kneading bread by hand can be tiring if you're not used to it, but you can take breaks.
- Remember to wash your hands well before you start kneading.
Step 4. Dust the dough with 30-60g of flour if it is too sticky
If you notice that it is sticking to the sides of the mixer, the hook or your hands, dust it with a little flour. Use little so as not to risk it drying out too much. Resume kneading after adding the flour and continue until it is completely absorbed.
You may need to dust the dough with flour more than once until you get the desired consistency
How to Season the Pita Dough
Add a light seasoning to the pita dough while you work it. For example, you can use pepper or dried herbs.
If you want to try the version of the garlic pita bread, you can use 3 or 4 finely chopped garlic cloves to add to the dough.
For the version of the spiced pita, add 7 g of cinnamon powder to the dough.
Part 2 of 3: Modeling the Dough
Step 1. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, then cover it
Grease the bottom and sides of the bowl with oil. For convenience, you can use a non-stick spray, otherwise pour a small amount of extra virgin olive oil onto a sheet of kitchen paper and roll it into the bowl. Then tear off a piece of aluminum foil or cling film and grease it in the same way only on one side. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and cover it with foil or greased film.
Use a clean bowl or wash the one you used to mix the ingredients and knead the dough. Dry it thoroughly with a clean tea towel before greasing it with oil
Step 2. Let the dough rise for 2 hours
Place the covered tureen in a warm place, such as on the kitchen counter. Set 2 hours on the timer and check the dough when the time runs out. Over the course of the 2 hours the dough will double in volume.
When the dough has doubled in volume, the leavening process is complete. Depending on the strength of the yeast, you may notice that it has doubled before the 2 hours is up
Step 3. Crush the dough with your hand in a fist and transfer it to a floured surface
When the leavening process is complete, close your hand into a fist and press the dough in the center and along the edges. Transfer it to a floured surface, such as a large wooden cutting board or kitchen counter.
Make sure the entire work surface is covered with a thin layer of flour to prevent the dough from sticking
Step 4. Cut the dough into 8 pieces of uniform size and shape into balls
Take a butter knife and cut the dough in half, then divide the two halves into equal parts and repeat again until you have 8 uniformly sized pieces. Shape the pieces of dough by rolling them in your hands and shape into balls.
If necessary, add more flour to your work surface and balls
Try giving the pieces of dough different shapes and sizes
Creating 8 flat and round pitas with a diameter of about 20 cm is not the only option. You can also try …
Use the cookie cutters to cut the dough into small rolls, for example in the shape of a heart, cat or star. First roll out the dough with a rolling pin, then cut it with cookie cutters. Bake the rolls normally, as explained for regular pita bread, then remove them from the heat as soon as they are fully inflated.
Prepare some mini pite about 10 cm wide. Cut the ball of dough into 16 uniform-sized pieces instead of 8. Bake them as explained for standard-sized bread, but don't lose sight of them as they may swell faster.
Create 2 extra-large pite to use them as a base for pizza. Divide the dough in half and roll it out to obtain two discs of about 6-7 mm thick. Bake them in the oven at 200 ° C until they are completely swollen (this will take about 7-9 minutes).
Step 5. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes
Space the balls on the work surface so that there is at least 5 cm of free space between them. Grease a sheet of aluminum foil or cling film as you did before and place it on top of the sandwiches. Let them rise covered for 30 minutes.
If the sheet of aluminum foil or cling film you used to cover the bowl is still intact, use it to keep the balls covered as they rise
Step 6. Roll out the balls of dough to make discs approximately 6-7mm thick
Take the rolling pin and roll out one ball of dough at a time. Use a ruler to make sure the discs are about 20-23cm wide and about 6-7mm thick.
- This thickness should allow the pita to swell, and a gap should form in the center. That's why it's important to use the ruler to make sure they are the right height.
- The ideal is to use a rolling pin provided with interchangeable thicknesses to be sure of obtaining the right thickness. If you don't have an adjustable rolling pin, you can buy it online or at a home improvement store.
Step 7. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for up to a week
You can decide to bake the bread right away or keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Wrap the balls of dough individually with aluminum foil or cling film after greasing them with oil. Place the wrapped balls in a 4-liter food container and refrigerate them until you are ready to bake the bread.
Place a date label on the container to remind yourself by when you need to bake the bread
Part 3 of 3: Bake the Bread
Step 1. Heat 15 ml of extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet
For convenience you can use spray oil to prevent the bread from sticking to the pan. Grease it well and let it heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes before starting to bake the bread.
The pan must be very hot, otherwise the pita will not swell and cook properly. If you start while the pan is still cold, the bread will not swell and the air pocket that characterizes it will not form in the center. If the pita does not swell, you can eat it anyway, but you won't be able to stuff it
Step 2. Place a disc of dough in the pan and let it cook for 30 seconds
Look at the top of the dough disc to notice when bubbles start to form. As soon as you notice them, flip the disc to the other side. The bubbles should appear after about 30 seconds.
Turn the bread with kitchen tongs or a spatula. Do not use a fork or you will risk piercing it and preventing it from swelling
Step 3. Flip the pita bread and let it cook for 1-2 minutes on the second side
When you notice bubbles have formed, turn the bread over and let it cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side. Wait for it to start swelling and then turn it over again. It may take 1 minute or you may have to wait for a full 2 minutes.
- After turning the bread over again, you will notice that brown spots have formed where the bubbles used to be.
- If the pita does not swell, the reason may be that the pan was not hot enough. Raise the heat before cooking the next one.
Step 4. Flip the bread and let it cook for another 1 to 2 minutes
The pita is ready when it is fully inflated and it can take about 1-2 minutes to achieve this. It will fill with air and inflate like a balloon.
Remember to use kitchen tongs or a spatula to stir the pita in the pan
Step 5. Once cooked, remove the pita from the pan and place it on a plate
Squeeze the air out by gently squeezing it with the back of the spatula or tongs before removing it from the pan, then place it on a plate.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil or a lid on the plate to keep the bread warm while you bake the rest of the sandwiches
Step 6. Repeat to cook the other sandwiches
Replicate the steps to bake the other dough discs. Since each will take about 5 minutes to cook, it will take about 40 minutes to cook all of them.
You can speed up the cooking process by using two pans to cook two pitas at the same time
Step 7. Eat the pita bread right away or store it in the fridge or freezer
Pita tastes best when freshly made. However, if you need to, you can put it in an airtight container or bag and store it for up to a week in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer. Place one pita on top of the other and separate them with a sheet of parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Place the stack of pite in an airtight plastic or glass container or resealable bag. Place the container or bag in the refrigerator or freezer.
Place a date label on the container to remind yourself by when to eat the bread
How To Use Pita
Stuff the pita as if it were a sandwich, for example with cheese, cold cuts, salad, tomato and onion. You can also add a sauce and pickles.
Cut the pita into triangles and dip it in a cream or sauce, for example hummus, cheese sauce or a cream of artichokes or spinach.
Accompany the main dish with pitasuch as a soup, curry or something stir-fried.
- You can also bake the pita in the oven at 230 ° C. Arrange the discs of dough on a baking sheet and cook for about 3 minutes. When they fully inflate, they are ready.
- Try using whole wheat flour instead of 00 flour. It has a higher fiber content and an aftertaste reminiscent of toasted hazelnuts.