Perfect Pita

I usually make pita at least two times a week. It takes just 10 minutes to make the dough, and 3 minutes baking time in the oven. The majority of the time is spent letting the dough rise. I use a combination of whole wheat and unbleached all-purpose white flour, but you can try other flour combinations to suit your taste.

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A baking stone is key to a successful pita. I’ve actually lined the racks in my oven with unglazed terra cotta tiles that you can get from Loews or Home Depot for about 45 cents a piece– an effective and inexpensive alternative to purchasing a backing stone. Dust with cornmeal, and always let the stone preheat with the oven, or it may crack. I just leave my stones in the oven at all times.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 packet yeast (or 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Combine 1 1/4 cups water, yeast and sugar in a jar or small container and let yeast proof. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt. Slowly pour in the water-yeast mixture, and knead, either with the dough hook feature of a stand mixer (which makes it super easy), or by hand. Knead in olive oil, and add more water if necessary. The ingredients should easily form a ball. Knead for an additional 10 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl that is lightly coated with oil and cover with a damp cloth so that it can rise, for about 90 minutes.  If you’re in a hurry and need to speed that rising time along, place the covered bowl in an oven that has been preheated to 170 degrees.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, and divide it into 8 pieces, Set them on the counter and cover with a damp cloth for 15-20 minutes, allowing the dough to rest.

Preheat the oven to 500, or it’s highest setting, placing a baking stone in the middle rack. Lightly flour a counter surface so that you can roll out the pita. After the dough has relaxed, roll each portion out so that it’s between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Place the pitas on the baking stone in the oven, and let bake for 3 minutes. They should puff up in the oven. Remove carefully (a pizza peel helps) and serve warm, with hummus.

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