28 January 2008

Best Pita and Flatbread

Do you like Middle Eastern food? Not too long ago I really disliked it and would turn up my nose at the hummus my mom was always eating. I could never figure out why the Snyder side of my family ate Middle Eastern food all the time. Turns out my great-uncle is Lebanese. That would explain a few things. I have really developed a taste for hummus, kibbeh, tabbouleh and many other traditional Middle Eastern foods. It's especially fun now since much of what Ella and I are studying in history focuses mainly on the Middle East and so as a project for history we make foods they used to eat and still do to this day. Of course, you couldn't have hummus without pita, right? Well, I finally found my favorite recipe and coincidently this same recipe makes delicious flatbread; you just have to cook it differently than pita.

1T active dry yeast
1 T sugar or honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 t salt
4 cups flour
1 T olive oil

Combine 1/2 cup of the water with the sugar or honey and yeast, whisk and let stand for 10 minutes. Dissolve the salt in the remaining 1 cup of water. Add the salt water and flour to the yeast slurry. Mix it up and then dump it out onto your counter and knead for about 10 minutes or so. Put the dough back in your bowl and add the olive oil. Knead the dough until the olive oil in well incorporated into the dough. Put the bowl with the dough into your oven which is OFF and set your timer for 90 minutes.

After your timer goes off your dough should look like this.
Take the dough out of the oven and punch it down. Divide the dough into twelve portions and put them into neat little balls like this.

FOR PITA:

Preheat your oven to 425. Roll out your dough and put the dough discs on a lightly oiled (spray is fine) cookie sheet. Put them in your oven on the lowest rack for about 8-10 minutes. When they are puffed up like this take them out of the oven. They should not be brown yet.
Heat a pan on your stove to medium. Coat lightly with oil or spray oil and put the pita in for about 45 seconds to 1 minute and then turn. You just want to brown the outside a little bit. When you cut them in half the pita pocket shows up.

FOR FLATBREAD:

Heat a pan on your stove over medium heat. Coat lightly with oil or spray oil. Roll out each ball of dough so you get a disc and cook the discs in the pan for about 2-3 minutes per side. When it gets bubbly then you know to flip it over.

That's it. Easy, fast (for bread), yummy and super versatile!

14 comments:

Tina said...

I can't wait to try it out. We LOVE pita and flatbread. We love all bread really. :)

Johanna said...

Okay, you have convinced me I can try this! :) I actaully went to buy more flour yesterday so that I could try my hand at bread again. It has been a while since I made any and all my other attempts were just so-so. Here's to making progress!

Saph said...

Mmm, I love hummus and pita bread!! I really need to get some yeast so I can make this and pumpkin rolls I've wanting to try. =)

Junie Moon said...

We love making pita sandwiches but I never thought about making my own pita. This is a wonderful recipe to try. Thank you!

Sharon said...

Well Honey....

You make this look SIMPLE.
Have never given thought to making our own Pita....you've changed my mind.

Thanks for this contribution.

Randi said...

I am SO excited that you posted this recipe! We love pita for sandwiches and also with hummus. We will be making these, for sure!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow -- this is awesome! I never thought about making my own pita bread. Definitely a must try -- thanks for sharing!

Pieces said...

I am so excited to give this a try! Thanks!

myinspired♥{sandra} said...

Thank you for this recipe! I'm going to try it out tomorrow....along with my homemade hummus :)

Maura loves Oregon said...

I have a question. Can you make this a day in advance and if so, will it stay soft. Can you re-heat?

Joanna said...

Maura -

The pita will keep for about 24 hours and be really good. After that it gets a little harder every day.

You can make the dough a day ahead. Put the dough in the bowl you mixed it in and then cover it with plastic and put it in your fridge over night. In the morning take it out ASAP and leave it on your counter to come to room temp. and then rise. This actually helps develop the flavor in the dough.

I hope it turn out well for you.

Steve, the food service dude said...

I made this last night! Wonderful! It was my first time making flatbread, and I cannot wait to make it again. We'll be having kebabs for the Superbowl.
Thank you so much for posting the recipe. A couple things I found: I really preferred the flatbread in the skillet style over the pita in the oven. The skillet bread had some moisture left inside, which made them yummy. Also, I ran out of AP flour, so my mix was 7/8 white flour, 1/8 whole wheat. You would have sworn that they were 100% whole wheat. I would never add more whole wheat than that. But again, thanks for the recipe, I'll be following your blog from here on out!

Joanna said...

Steve - I am glad you liked the pita. I've made it before with part whole wheat flour and it really adds to the flavor. Most of the bread (rolls, etc.) I make I usually toss one cup of whole wheat in.

Roxxy said...

This is awesome. I've been looking for a recipe for flat bread and/or pitas that doesn't seem crazy complicated or call for flavoring ingredients. Great *basic* recipe, explained easily, that I can build on. Off to make pitas to go with our homemade hummus! Thank you! :)