This is a good one from my Mom, which she got from her sister, and as with any good recipe my mom has altered it slightly so here is my Moms spin on a great classic… The post will be broken into 3 parts:
- How to make Pita Bread – seriously folks in your own oven, no need for store bought here, these are so easy and fun! We don’t have kids but I would argue that this would make for fun project to get them helping in the kitchen. They are so fun to watch “poof” in the oven! It’s magical…
- The Pita Bread Meal – (as I call it) from Aunt Beth again!
- The Eating… with Tips/Suggestions.
How to make Pita bread – I found this recipe from The Fresh Loaf, please check it out HERE, I pretty much copy this recipe, but it is worth checking out, as they go a bit more indepth…Makes 8 pitas:
- 3 cups flour – (I like to use 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour or bread flour)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar or honey (Megan Note: I use honey)
- 1 packet instant yeast (Megan Note: This is 2 & 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Pita Bread Directions: I do all this in my kitchen aid mix master, so my directions will follow how to make it in the mixer.
Mix the yeast in with 1 cup flour, the salt, and the sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup warm water (80 – 105 degrees) and stir together with mixer paddle. Slowly add remaining flour, after about adding the second cup switch to dough hook and add remaining flour. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water (I sometimes have to add an extra 1/4 cup, winter months are usually drier than summer months so you will need more or less depending on time of year). Once the dough is all incorporated and it has kneaded with the dough hook for 5 to 10 minutes remove it from mixer. Below are a couple of pictures in the mixer and the quick hand knead I give it before putting in the bowl.
Once done kneading, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. I use canola spray oil, but you can also just pour a teaspoon of oil into the bowl and rub it around with your fingers. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes. See below for before and after rise.
When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape. See picture below, of divided pieces.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.
After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling-pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again. See picture of this step below.
Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface, in the batch pictured here I bake them 2 at a time. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary. Then repeat until all pitas are done. These are so fun to watch poof in the oven. The below picture is before and after the 3 minutes. (I forgot to take the after picture with the first batch so you get the “after” picture from the second batch.)
When all is said and done you will have 8 pitas – see pictured below!
Next, Pita Bread the Meal: (Feeds 4 or 5)
In a large frying pan, brown 1 pound of ground beef with 1 small onion minced, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- Then add: 1 quart of tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of basil, oregano, and sugar, and seasoned pepper to taste. (if you prefer stronger spices feel free to play with the quantities and flavors or even add a couple super chili hot pepper shakes, I sometimes do)
- Simmer for 30-40 minutes until it has thickened. DONE – See picture below. It has the look and feel of a delicious spaghetti or lasagna sauce. I actually use this meat base for my lasagna also.
The Eat: How to put it all together.
Cut pita’s in half, add a slice of munster cheese (or mozzarella works too if you are in a pinch) then scoop in the meat meal above. I pair with green beans, or any veggie will do as well as some of my canned peaches or apple sauce. See pita bread dinner below… I hope you enjoy and much as we do. This is such a good meal, really simple and FUN!
For those left over pitas store in a ziplock bag for a few days on the counter, otherwise freeze and pull out for later use.
Leftover Pitas also make for excellent sandwiches. Stuff some lunch meat in them, with some cheese and a dill pickle. Yum, a quick easy healthy lunch.
- Occasionally when making the pita bread you will have a pita that does not want to poof, no worries just bake it for the time like normal, then when you eat it, just slide a sharp knife thru the middle to create the pocket.
- These pitas also pair great with some hummus dip!
Please let me know if you have any comments or questions! Enjoy ~ Megan