A while back, I had run across a recipe for homemade pitas at Tammy's Recipes when I was searching for bread recipes. I thought it sounded really interesting, so I saved the link in my favorites and saved the thought for a later day! Well, my kids were supposed to prepare a biblical times meal for the family and low and behold, pitas were suggested! Now I had my excuse! In actuality, I can't take much credit for this one, as my 11 yo daughter loves to bake, so I turned this over to her (with a little supervision!). Another reason for us to make these - we do not have pitas in any of the stores in town. Our Wal-mart stopped carrying them because they weren't selling. I have to admit, I bought them very occasionally, as they were never really fresh and wonderful tasting, and really expensive.
Ingredients to make 8 whole pitas (16 halves):
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
In a large bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. Add 1 cup of the flour, along with the yeast, and stir to mix. Add remaining flour and knead to make a soft dough. (Add additional flour if necessary during kneading.) Alternately, if you have a bread machine, you can put the ingredients in the pan in the order listed and use the dough cycle. Skip to step 3 if using a bread machine.)
Put your dough into a bowl, lightly oil the top, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise, until almost double (about an hour). We started the oven to pre-heat at this time, so it was warm.
Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 6 or 7 inch circle.
As you roll the rounds, set them aside on a lightly floured countertop or table, and cover loosely with a towel. Let rise for about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy. (The rounds will still be thin!)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place 2 rounds, side-by-side, onto a wire rack, such as is used for cooling things. Place rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 4-5 minutes, untlil puffy and just slightly browned. (If bread is too browned, it will be dry and not pliable.)
Remove rack from oven and immediately wrap/layer pita breads in a damp towl, to soften. Continue baking the remaining breads, layering them between dample towels as soon as they're baked. Allow breads to completely cool.
Cut pita breads in half, or split the top edge, and fill as desired.
Store pitas in a plastic zipper bag in the fridge for a few days, or place in the freezer for longer storage. To re-warm pitas, wrap them in a damp towel and then wrap in foil. Place in a warm (200-250 degree) oven for about 20 minutes. We don't hardly have any leftovers to speak of, so I can't tell you how this works!
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