Pita Bread

Posted here: a double batch and they are all gone in less than 24 hours.

2-1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast

Mix the (very warm) water with the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Set aside and allow to proof about ten minutes. In another bowl, mix the flours (reserving half the bread flour), salt, and toss in the oil on top, not letting the oil touch the sides of the dry ingredients bowl. When the yeast has proofed, add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir. Set aside the dry ingrediaent bowl. Add more flour until the flour clumps up in the bowl and “grabs” itself. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 8 minutes. The dough should feel smooth, soft, and elastic.

Oil the dry ingredient bowl and put the dough in, turning to cover. Set aside and cover to rise until doubled.*

Turn dough out and cut into 20 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Then with a rolling pin, roll the balls into cakes about 1/4″ thick. Cover all pieces with a dry cloth and let rise about 30 more mintues (they will puff up slightly). Preheat oven to 500 with a stone (ideally) although the soft dough will hold up even on the oven rack! Put a towel on top of the oven (being careful not to create a fire hazard) and put a clean dishtowel aside.

When oven (and stone) are hot, put pitas in and cook 4 – 5 minutes until puffed up and gaining reddish brown spots. Remove from oven and immediately place pitas on top of the dry towel, then cover with the dampened kitchen towel until soft (even over-cooked pitas will soften well).

Once pitas a softened, either cut in half or split top edge for half or whole pitas. They can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for 1 or 2 months. But they are best when eaten immediately.

* I like to bring a pan of water to boiling, then put it under the oiled bowl in my oven. Most risings take about an hour this way. Each kitchen and cook has their own optimal rising system!

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