Over the years I have had so many requests for Arabic pita bread but never got around to posting the recipe. My mammaw gave me a homemade cookbook when I got married and it contained this recipe and has since been the only pita bread recipe that I have ever used. Why change a good thing right? Since moving to the Middle East I have not made homemade pita bread. Its freshly made here at all times and even hot when you get it and did I mention dirt cheap. It’s about 1 riyal for a big pack which is around a quarter and if you order food from anywhere they just give you packs for free.
However, I have to admit that today when I made this and tasted it I hated that I stopped making it for my family, it taste so much better. Usually when I bake bread I always tell you all to use as little extra flour as possible after you make your dough however do not go by that when making pita bread just remember that flour is your friend. You need extra when rolling it out, kneading and shaping. Also allowing your dough to rest in between each move is something that I have found is a must so that the gluten does not get over excited and works to your advantage. Also make sure your water is not to hot or you will kill the yeast yet not cold or it will not grow.
3 cups all-purpose flour + more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups warm water
1. In a small bowl add yeast, pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt, remaining sugar, 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and yeast mixture, mix well. Add warm water a little bit at a time mixing until a dough consistency has formed. Knead for 10 minutes.
3. In a medium sized bowl add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brush all over sides and bottom of bowl. Add dough and brushing remaining oil on top. With your fingers lightly poke all over the tops and side of the dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a double folded kitchen towel. Place in a warm place (like a microwave) for an hour.
4. On a floured surface add dough and knead for 10 minutes working extra flour (about 1/3 cup) into dough. Break off 8 even pieces and roll into a bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
5. Pre-heat oven to 500F placing baking stone inside to heat up. On a floured surface shape ball into a circle with your hands then carefully flatten until 4-5 inch circles are formed. Add two pitas at a time to bake. Bake for a few minutes on each side flipping with metal tongs. Bust any puffy bubbles with a fork to allow steam out.
6. Cover with a towel to keep warm until serving time and store inside a plastic bag.
Yields: 8 servings