Monday, May 5, 2014

Flatbread Pita

Happy Cinco de Mayo, people! Today's post is not at all related to this awesomely raucous, libatious holiday. If I were at home, I'd probably rustle up a bottle of tequila and try my hand at some sort of citrusy cocktail but I'm out in North Dakota and these posts were planned out over a month ago and I can't really change anything right now. My bad; I should have planned a bit better. You live and you learn.

Well, anyway, I never shared a recipe card in my previous pita post so I thought I'd do that today, along with a slew of newer, prettier photos. It's easy enough to buy pita pockets but I have a hard time finding a really yummy flatbread pita in my grocery store so I prefer to make it myself. It's yummier and fluffier and store bought flatbread pita tends to be rather dry and kind of crumbly.

These pitas aren't just delicious for Greek-themed fillings; they're also an awesome alternative to a tortilla wrap. You can also use them as a substitute for pizza crust. Or you can turn them into chips (which is something I'll be sharing in an upcoming post).
Ingredients [yields 4 big pitas]:
2 cups bread flour (more gluten = chewier)
¾ cup warm water (up to 110F)
1¼ teaspoon dry active yeast
1½ teaspoon sugar
1½ teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
+ butter

Start by blooming the yeast in a little bit of sugar water. The water shouldn't be too hot (cooler than 110F). Stir it up and let it get foamy. Leave it be for 5 minutes or so.
Add the yeast mixture into a bowl with the flour. Add in salt and olive oil and mix together with a spoon until the dough forms a ball and the spoon becomes useless.
Plop the dough onto a work surface and knead until smooth. I like to push the dough with the heel of my hand until it's somewhat flattened, then I fold the dough in half and push again. Kneading this gluten-filled dough is actually a decent workout.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl. Pour a little olive oil over the dough and roll it around to coat it. Score the dough with an 'x' if you like, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel, and leave it to proof in a warm place for about 1 hour until it's doubled in size.
Look at that transformation! The reason yeast dough rises is because the yeast eats the sugars in the dough and once they're full and sated, they start "burping" and those burps fill the dough with little pockets of air.
Divide the dough into four pieces and roll it into 1/4" thick rounds. Plot the pitas onto a sheet pan and bake at 350F for 2 minutes just to set the dough.
Then, toast the pitas in a pan with a little butter or on a griddle pan if you want some lovely grill marks. Toast the pitas gently - just long enough to get a little bit of color. The pitas should still be lovely and flexible.
After that, you can use it to wrap up your chicken souvlaki or whatever you want. Please come back soon because I have a yummy pita chip & hummus recipe to share! Cheers.
Here's the recipe page:

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