How-to Make Homemade Pita Bread
Hummus is all the rage. You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. There’s just something about the ambiguous blend of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic that gets people excited.
And I like to think it’s with good reason, too. Hummus is spectacular if properly prepared with great ingredients, a little love, and a lot of tasting.
But this post isn’t about hummus. Au contraire, my friend! This post is about what hummus is not. And hummus is not pita bread. Surprised? Didn’t think so. But hear me out…
Pita bread, the infamous sidekick to the superhero, the Robin to hummus’s Batman, if you will, is all but left by the wayside in the search for the perfect hummus. Why is this so, you ask? I’m not entirely sure. Who would want to munch on lifeless, tasteless, pre made triangles of -choose expletive and descriptive adjective- pita bread? Or much less pair it with a delicious, creamy bowl of homemade hummus? Not me!
Seriously people, listen up! This is important — you can’t have great hummus without great pita bread. It’s like trying to make the perfect pizza without the perfect crust. It just ain’t gonna happen!
Luckily, because pita is just a basic flat bread, it’s quick and easy to make. All in all, it takes about 10 minutes of active work, including getting out the ingredients, mixing them up, worrying if you’re doing it right, double checking, triple checking, cleaning up the mess, and baking the bread. Best of all, you’ll be a Pita-pro your first time, guaranteed! It really is that easy!
You will need just a bit of planning, though, because the dough needs to rise for about two hours at room temperature after mixing the ingredients!
Homemade Pita Bread Recipe:
Adapted from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (This book is a must-have for anyone looking to bake a variety of artisan breads better than their bakery in no time flat).
Makes four one pound loaves, which is a ton of Pita. Luckily, the recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 packets granulated yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 6 ½ cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
- Baking Stone
Combine the water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl with a lid. Add in the flour all at once and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and there are no dry chunks of flour remaining. Cover with a lid that isn’t air-tight as you want some of the gases produced to escape. Allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
After two hours, preheat your oven (or grill) to 500º F, dust your hands with flour and punch down the dough and remove to a floured surface. For single serving size pitas, take a serrated knife and cut the dough into rounds the size of an orange. For family style, the size of 1 ½ grapefruits should do.
Dust the dough with flour until it isn’t sticky and form the dough into a ball.
Just a note, don’t use a baking stone over an oven flame on your grill. It’s better to just grill directly on the grate.
Roll the dough ball until it is about an 1/8th of an inch. You can leave the dough a little thicker for more chewy, fluffy bread the way I like.
When your pizza stone is preheated, quickly toss in one or more pita breads, quickly shut the oven door to prevent excessive heat loss, and set a timer for 5 minutes. Which, as it just so happens, it just enough time to jam out a song on the guitar, if you’re so inclined.
One mediocre rendition of Sister Hazel’s “Your Winter” later the dough should have puffed considerably. It will also be baked and crunchy and you’ll probably be scratching your head thinking, “well darn, this isn’t like any pita bread I’ve ever had.” No worries, you’re on the right track.
Place the dough into a clean, dry dishtowel , tightly cover, and let cool. The steam will soften the pita as it slowly deflates.
By the way, I see myself as a man of the people, a firm believer in great directions, proper warnings, and, for the simple fact that I don’t want you to hate me, please, for the love of all things Holy, do not press down on the towel to deflate the pita with your bare hands just because your curious what will happen. Unless,of course, you enjoy the pulsing pain of a steam burn.
Meanwhile, throw a few more pitas in the oven, open up a jar of your favorite hummus, grab a beer (try a Sierra Nevada Summerfest) and munch on, my friend… munch on.
Classic Hummus Recipe:
- 1 cup garbanzo beans
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoons cumin seed
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- Reserved juice from garbanzo beans
- Salt n’ pepper, to taste
- Cayenne, to taste
Combine all ingredients except the juice and seasonings in a food processor. Give it a good waz, adding just enough of the reserved liquid to get the mixture moving. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste and enjoy!
Music To Cook By: Diane Birch – “Bible Belt” Click to listen for free on Grooveshark!
“Though classically-trained, there’s a freshness and freedom about her piano style which enables her to tackle with equal aplomb the bluesy piano triplets of “Fire Escape”, the New Orleans second-line groove of “Rise Up”, the smouldering Southern soul of “Forgiveness” and the Seventies’ singer-songwriter flavour of “Ariel“, the melody and arrangement of which could have come straight from an Elton John album of that era.” – The Independent
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