Years ago it was hard to buy good pita where I live – in fact, when I had a store I’d regularly ‘import’ cases and cases of pita from Toronto and Montreal to sell to my customers. Then I tried baking my own and was surprised to find that it was very, very easy. And the homemade pita was very, very good.
While the imported frozen pita were good, nothing beats dragging a still-warm-from-your-oven pita through chumus (hummus). These pita form pockets, so they’re perfect for a falafel (or other) sandwich.
These are best the day you make them, but kept in a closed plastic bag, they’ll be great the next day too. If you can’t get through them that quickly, store them in the freezer.
- 2 1/4 tsp. traditional dry yeast (1/4 oz. / 8 grams) (1 packet)
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar (1/4 oz. / 8 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups tepid water
- 1 Tbsp. oil (canola, olive, safflower, etc)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1 lb. 1 1/2 oz. / 495 grams)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt (1/4 oz. / 8 grams)
- Add the yeast and sugar to the water, stir and let it sit for 5 minutes, giving the yeast time to dissolve and bloom. Add the oil.
- Place the 2 1/2 cups of flour and the salt in a mixing bowl and use a spoon to mix together. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the water/yeast mixture in. Stir until everything comes together. Using the remaining 1 cup of flour, sprinkle some on your worksurface and scrape your dough out of the bowl and onto the flour. Sprinkle with more flour and knead the dough, incorporating the rest of the flour for approximately 10 minutes or until you have a smooth, elastic and slightly sticky dough.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until doubled in size, approximatey one hour. I like to use the ‘dough proofing’ setting on my oven. If you don’t have that option, the temperature in your kitchen might slow the process down or speed it up, so keep an eye on it until doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let relax for 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 500°F (260°C). I like to use the convection setting on the oven, but if you don’t have convection, that’s fine.
- Use a rolling pin to roll each ball into an approximately 6-inch circle that’s about 1/4-inch (1/2-cm) thick.
- Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake one tray at a time until the pita are puffed and the edges start to just turn golden brown, approximately 5 minutes on convection or 6-8 minutes on regular baking mode. If you have a pizza stone, you can bake it directly on the stone, checking the pita after 2-3 minutes.
- Immediately transfer the baked pita to a plate or basket lined with a clean tea towel, wrapping it in the towel as you bake the rest of the pita.
- Eat right away or let the pita cool completely wrapped in the towel. Transfer to a plastic bag to keep if not eating immediately.