I am so proud of myself!
Probably inordinately so, given the ease of this recipe.
Pita bread is filling, low-calorie, and ridiculously easy to make. It's a fun project for kids, too, since it can be done quickly and you get cute little pockety breads.
Mine didn't turn out perfectly - I think my whole wheat flour's gone off a bit (ew). I also think I'd roll out the dough a bit thinner, and cook a little bit longer. But toasting saved even the mushy ones, so it's all good.
Pita only calls for 6 ingredients, and the recipe is quite forgiving. You can use sugar or honey, 100% whole wheat flour or 100% white flour, or any combination thereof; I used active dry yeast, but if you don't want to bother with dissolving and proofing, you can use rapid rise just as easily. You can use whatever oil you have in your house, but if you want to be all authentic, use olive oil.
Makes 8 pitas.
3 cups flour (I used 2 cups white and 1 cup wheat, and that seemed just about right)
1.5 t. salt
1 T. sugar or honey
1 packet yeast (or if you're using rapid rise, 2 t.)
1.25 - 1.5 cups room temperature water
2 T. olive oil, vegetable oil, butter or shortening
If you're using active dry yeast, follow the instructions on the packet to get it going, then add it to your dry ingredients. Otherwise, mix the yeast in with the flour, salt and sugary-substance. Add the olive oil and water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour won't stick, add a tablespoon more water until you get the right consistency.
Once it's all in a big ballish glop, dump it out on a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until your arms fall off. If you're using an electric mixer, mix at low speed for 10 minutes (I personally don't think it takes this long - I kneaded for exactly 7 minutes). You want the dough to become stretchy and elastic and smooth (so where it bounces back when you press it with your widdle finger).
Once the dough's been pummeled, form it into a ball and put it in a big ol' bowl that's been lightly coated with oil. Roll it around a little (or cheat and use a spray oil like I did) so that it's lightly coated with oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set it aside to rise until it's doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
Once you've done the laundry, picked your nose, called your Aunt Millicent, run to the store to pick up tampons, taken a 20 minute nap, and yelled at the cat, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 mini-balls (heh). Cover the ballspawns with a damp towel and let them rest for 20 more minutes.
Meanwhile (back at the ranch), preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If you have a baking stone (I don't), put it in the oven to preheat, too. If you're a mere mortal and don't have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you're preheating it.
After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes (charge it spa fees), spread a light coating of flour on a work surface, take your balls (heheh), sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough, and use a rolling pin, a big glass, or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. Roll those suckers out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick (I think on the thinner side produces better results). If the dough doesn't want to stretch sufficiently, slap it upside the head and let it rest another 5-10 minutes, then try it again.
If you have a spray bottle in the kitchen, spray a light mist of water onto your baking surface (i.e., the cookie sheet in the oven) and close the oven for 30 seconds. I have a "cat blaster" spray mister bottle that works really well for this. Getting the oven moist (heh heh again. I know - I'm terrible) reduces blistering on the outside of your pitas. You can skip this step if you don't have a spray bottle handy. No biggie.
Open the oven and toss as many pitas as will fit onto the baking surface. Bake 'em for 3-5 minutes. They should puff up some. Watch them carefully - my first batch was underdone, but you don't want them to be too browned, either. I did mine in batches because I couldn't fit all 8 in the oven at once. Given that they're done so quickly, it wasn't a big deal to do them in stages.
That's it! You're done! Don't burn your fingers when you pull them apart to put butter & honey, homemade hummus, or tuna salad in 'em.
This recipe is modified from this (very cool and informative) site: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pitabread