Readers BEWARE – if you make this recipe, you may never be able to enjoy commercially prepared pita bread ever again – even some of the really good brands out there. If you are cool with that – read on.
There is just no comparison between the two, especially when you taste the pita hot out of the oven. Take it a step further as I did and dip the oven-fresh pita into extra virgin olive oil and good balsamic vinegar and welcome to cloud simple perfection nine.
This recipe makes four large pitas and surprisingly, I was able to exercise some willpower and had two leftover. I stored them in a Ziploc bag and put them in the pantry, eying them with desire every time I walked by.
Fast forward to the following evening – I get home from work and I’m famished. Little did the pita bread in the pantry, know, that I had plans for it – pita pizza. I removed the biggest one from the bag, slathered it with ricotta, marinara, mushrooms, thinly sliced (Good Fellas thin) garlic and mozzarella cheese. I threw it under the broiler for 10 minutes and I ended up quelling my hunger with a very respectable pizza. The crust (pita) was airy, chewy and reminiscent of a Neapolitan-style crust.
No matter which way you eat it – as a traditional pita or a pizza crust, you will not be disappointed. We have some friends visiting this weekend and I plan to make another batch to serve alongside an antipasti platter with some hummus.
Homemade Pita Bread
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water (About 105 – 110 degrees)
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup water – in a small, oven safe dish
- In a large bowl, add the yeast and water. Set aside for 15 minutes to let the yeast bloom.
- Add the salt and mix with a fork. Add flour one cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon after each addition. Once all flour has been added, knead the dough in the bowl for 5 minutes until a solid, smooth mass is formed. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside for one hour.
- Place a pizza stone and dish of water in the oven; pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
- After an hour, cut the dough into four portions and form into balls by tucking the four corners underneath, while smoothing the top. (Similar to making mozzarella cheese or pizza dough balls).
- Place one of the balls on a lightly floured surface and gently flatten and stretch the dough with your fingers and hands. Once the dough is shaped into a flat disk, use a rolling pin and roll the dough into a 9 or 10 inch circle. Place into oven, directly on pizza stone. Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 4 minutes, until pita is puffy and golden brown. Repeat this process with remaining dough balls.