Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pita Bread

Before finding this recipe, I had never really had pita bread. But with this recipe, it is one of my favorite breads. Actually, lets be real. I love bread period. But this one is really yummy. Like really, really. It is also pretty easy. The biggest thing is just remembering far enough ahead and starting early enough because it does take time with rising and whatnot. This particular recipe is really great for creating pockets or if you want pita bread, just slice each "pocket" in half and then put whatever you want on it. Just a little note, the original recipe has directions for using your bread machine to make this. I don't have a bread machine so I'll give directions using what I do have. If you want to know how to make this with your bread machine, just follow the link for Budget Bites.

Pita Bread
Recipe from Budget Bites 

1-1/4 cup milk, warmed in microwave for 1 minute
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour**
1 teaspoon rapid rise yeast**

Add ingredients, in the order listed, to a large bowl or the bowl of a large mixer. 
If hand kneading this dough, knead it for 5-8 minutes. If using a large mixer with a dough hook, let it mix for about one minute, then stop it to scrape the edge of the bowl and then turn it back on to finish mixing for a couple more minutes.
Dough should be soft and almost spongy. Remove dough from bowl and put on a well floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 10 minutes {this helps make it easier to shape the dough}.

On a lightly floured surface divide dough into 8-12 balls {the number of balls you make depends on the size of pitas you want- more balls = smaller pitas} and roll each ball into a flat disk about 1/4" thick. Cover dough and let rise until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.

Place 1/2 of pita rounds on a greased baking sheet {I used an upside down cookie sheet} and bake in the bottom of a 450 F oven for 4-5 minutes, or until bread is puffed {the dough doesn't brown, so don't wait for browned pitas or they'll be burnt}. Just watch them and be sure to remove them when they are looking really puffed, but no longer than 5 minutes. Remove from oven and repeat with remaining dough. When cooled, cut a slit in the side of each pita, fill with your favorite filling and enjoy!

** Note: Bread flour and rapid rise yeast are essential to making homemade bread. These two ingredients help ensure a fluffier product than if you used regular all-purpose flour and a different type of yeast. You can use other flour and yeast, however, you're bread will turn out more dense.

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