So this recipe for homemade pita bread has ruined me for the store-bought variety forever. I don’t have a ton of experience baking bread from scratch and it’s an area of my kitchen abilities that I’ve been wanting to improve upon for a while. Since making a few batches of these pretzels and making homemade pizza dough more often, I’m getting more comfortable with the process of allowing enough time for homemade dough to rise and also kneading the dough both with my KitchenAid mixer and by hand. There is something relaxing about the whole process. But I’m still just at the beginning… there’s a ton of other breads on my list to tackle, including sandwich rounds, baguettes and croissants. So stay tuned in the coming months for those recipes.
In the meantime, this pita bread is essentially like making individual pizzas without the toppings. The thinness of the dough allows the steam to do its work and puff-up the top of the dough, allowing for the pocket you are used to seeing in a pita round. They look rustic, and the pocket is not exact like in a store brand, but I promise the taste more than makes up for uniformity (and isn’t uniformity boring anyway?)
Again, I looked to Annie’s Eats for my initial recipe and she blogged the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. I used my pitas for falafel “gyros”. My falafel was a simple boxed mix made by Fantastic Foods that you add water to, then saute the patties in olive oil. I combined the falafel patties with some caramelized grape tomatoes and onions, feta cheese and a quick tzatziki sauce. I’m sharing the recipes for both the pita bread and the tzatziki sauce in my recipe cards below. Other than allowing time for the dough to rise, this was actually a quick and simple dinner and my whole family loved it, especially my husband and son!
The next evening I had three pitas leftover, so I browned them each in the skillet with some olive oil and cut them into triangles for dipping in some Trader Joe’s hummus I doctored up. Entertaining with friends is much more important than trying to take a pretty picture. And also, the camera work is not my love, cooking is. So I have a feeling I’m going to always struggle with things being picture-perfect here at my blog. But I did at least snap a picture of this hummus concoction with my phone because we all thought it was worthy of sharing.
I started with a container of Trader Joe’s hummus (the one made without tahini is my family’s favorite). In a medium skillet I added 2 tablespoons of olive oil, one container of grape tomatoes, one half of a chopped onion, a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. I cooked the mixture over medium-low heat until most of the tomatoes had popped and the onions were caramelized, about 20 minutes (this was the same technique I used for the tomatoes and onions in the gyros for our dinner the night before). I then added a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and continued cooking for 5 more minutes. I removed the tomatoes and onions from the heat, allowed them to cool a bit, then spooned the cooked mixture over the top of the hummus in a large bowl. I sprinkled the whole thing with a generous amount of smoked paprika to serve. It was a huge hit!
- 3 c. all-purpose flour, + 1/2 - 3/4 c. as needed
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 T. sugar
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1 1/4 c. water, room temperature
- 2 T. olive oil
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Attach the bowl to your mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the olive oil to the water, then pour the mixture slowly into the flour mixture with the mixer running on low speed.
- Allow the dough hook to knead the mixture on low speed for about 8 minutes. I added the extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough began to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and dump the dough onto a lightly floured counter. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough and knead by hand for 2-3 more minutes. I had to add a little more flour at this stage to keep it from sticking to the counter. Do not be afraid to add a little more flour as the dough was very forgiving.
- Place the dough ball into a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough so all sides are covered with the oil. Cover bowl with a towel and allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
- Lightly press down dough in the bowl to release the air, place dough on the counter and using a knife or bench scraper to cut, divide the dough into eight equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and cover the balls with a clean, damp kitchen towel to let them rest for about 20 minutes, which allows the dough to be shaped more easily.
- While dough is resting, preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a pizza stone or inverted sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven, this will the surface you bake your pitas on.
- Lightly flour the counter again and working one at a time, lightly flour each dough ball and use a rolling pin to roll each into a 6-inch circle. Place each round of dough on sheet pans lined with parchment paper or silpat baking mats (I was able to fit four rounds on each of my sheet pans) and allow to rise, uncovered for 30-45 minutes, until each is barely doubled in thickness.
- Open the oven and place two pitas at a time onto your baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy in 3-5 minutes. Use a spatula to remove and continue the process until all pitas are baked.
- 1 (6 oz.) container of plain Chobani Greek yogurt
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced small
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. dried oregano
- 1/2 t. dried dill
- 1/2 t. smoked paprika
- fresh cracked black pepper
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and allow to refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.