Saturday, 2 January 2016

traditional greek pita bread

Boy oh boy! Guys! Make sure you’re listening today! I have an ah-mazing bread recipe to share with y’all! I am so excited!

Uhh.. I don’t think I’ve ever used so many exclamation marks in any blog post before. So you see, judging from the number of exclamation points I just used, you must be certain that these Greek pitas are totally and utterly amazing and demand your attention in making them. Right now.

We loved these pitas so much, that five – yes, five – batches of this stuff was made in about 10 days. And every time, all the bread was completely finished and people would not stop going on and on about how goooood the pitas tasted.

These pita breads taste so amazing. Honestly. I really don’t know how else to describe them. The dough has olive oil in it, making the pitas extra flavorsome and very soft and pliable. They’re the perfect bread to use when making wraps, though they taste wonderful when smothered with butter, Nutella, or even peanut butter and sliced bananas . They’re just as good on their own, however, eaten hot and straight off the pan.

These pitas are super easy to make: I timed myself and it took me 10mins to have the dough ready to rise, and once risen, cooking them took me no longer than 30mins.

Also, once the dough has risen, you can leave it in the fridge overnight and cook the pitas the next day. I did this and it worked perfectly well. Just make sure you leave the dough sitting out on the counter for about 30 mins before rolling it out, otherwise it may be a little difficult to work with.

Traditional Greek Pita Bread.
Makes 8 very large pitas

1 cup hot water, but not boiling
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the water and yeast together in a large bowl and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil. Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing.
Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and run it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it's coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it's doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
At this point, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll to make sure the dough isn't sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if it starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. (Once you get the hang of it you can be cooking one pita while rolling the next one out.)
Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you want a hot pan). Lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side. The pita should start to puff up during this time; if it doesn't or if only small pockets form, try pressing the surface of the pita gently with a clean towel. Keep cooked pitas covered with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.
These are best eaten fresh, but will keep in a ziplock bag for a few days.


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