I'm in the kitchen today...where else would I be...making my favorite pita bread. We are travelling for the holidays and I am in need of several things to take to feed our large family along the way. Since we take our lunch on the road, I decided that I would make a large batch of these pita breads to fill with our favorite sandwich stuff. It seems to be less messier in the car than our regular bread I make...and that, is a very good thing in a car packed full of people. So here's my pita bread recipe. Try it. You will never buy pita bread from the store ever again...trust me on that one.
Pita Bread (recipe from the book "Homemade" by Reader's Digest)
1 1/2 cups warm water (105 - 110 F)
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil plus additional
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, cilantro, or parsley (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the water and yeast. Using a fork, stir rapidly to dissolve the yeast. Add the sugar and 1 1/2 cups flour. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, stir until all the ingredients are well blended. Cover the bowl with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Add the salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour. Again using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until it is smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
Lightly flour a work surface and lightly oil a large bowl. Turn out the dough onto the work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it until it is completely coated in the oil. Cover the bowl with lightly oiled plastic wrap and set in a warm place to let the dough rise, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
Lightly flour the work surface again and turn out the dough onto the surface. Divide the dough into 4 balls (sometimes I make 5). Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 1/2 inch thick, 6 inch diameter circle. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush each circle with oil and, if desired, sprinkle with herbs. Bake until the pita breads are golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the pita breads to wire racks to cool. Cut in half when cooled.