Category Archives: Bread

Breaking Bread — Homemade Pita

Bread is arguably the most important food on Earth.

At the dawn of civilization, humans started grinding grain into flour, mixing the flour with water, letting the dough ferment over time to develop flavor and improve digestibility, and forging the dough into hearty loaves to sustain their families through another day.

Since its conception, bread has played a vital role in the rise and fall of tribes and kings and empires. Bread is the bare minimum that a family needs to survive, and thus, throughout history, whenever people have not been able to attain their daily loaf, uprisings surely followed suit. In fact, bread is so important to the people that it serves as the the cornerstone of the Magna Carta and the French Revolution, both of which paved the way for the democracy of the modern world.

It is safe to say that without bread, society as we know it today would not exist.

Because bread is so important to daily life, there is a never-ending list of idioms and sayings that pertain to the subject. One of the most common is the simple phrase of “breaking bread.” This phrase means so much more than simply tearing a loaf of bread apart. “Breaking bread,” at its simplest, means to share life. Especially in today’s world, some people are far more fortunate than others. This is why it is important that whenever anyone physically breaks bread, that person should think about how fortunate he or she is to have the blessing of life and consider how to share that gift with others in need.

This is why I want to share this recipe for homemade pita, the main type of bread in Syria as well as the rest of the Middle East. Many people have never baked bread before, which is truly a shame. Baking bread is nothing short of magical. And luckily, Pita is a perfect place to start! This bread is soft and delicious, and each piece has a large pocket in the middle, making it an excellence choice of bread for a light sandwich or wrap. Pita is also wonderful brushed with olive oil and baked into chips to dip into hummus, baba ghanoush, or any other spread of choice.

The best part about making pita is that it only takes about two hours, most of which is idle time. And the smell and taste of fresh bread is truly incomparable! Enjoy!


 

Homemade Pita

October 26, 2014


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 – 1 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar or honey
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt

 

20141023_165636

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Then drizzle in the olive oil and pour in 1 cup of water. Stir until all of the flour is moistened. If the mixture is too dry, add in the extra 1/4 cup of water.

Once the dough is neither wet nor dry, knead it for five to ten minutes to mix the ingredients evenly throughout the dough and to work the gluten.

20141023_170444

When you are done kneading, the dough should look something like this. Not completely smooth, but it should hold together and stretch well, and it should not stick to your hands.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with a towel dampened with warm water. Let the dough rise for 90 minutes.
20141023_183450

After 90 minutes have passed, the dough should have doubled in size, and it should look puffy and shiny.
20141023_183610Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface.

Look at that gluten development! Thats what creates the large bubble in pita.
20141023_183858Cut the dough into eight roughly even pieces.20141023_184117(0)

Shape the pieces into balls. Be sure not burst the bubbles in the dough too much. Cover the balls with the damp towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, set the oven at 400F.20141023_185804After 20 minutes, the dough will puff up again.

Isn’t it just so beautiful?
20141023_190330Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough out until it has a diameter of five to six inches and a thickness of about 1/4 inch.
20141023_191017

Transfer four disks at a time to a parchment-covered baking tray. Bake for three to five minutes until the pita puffs up and starts to look golden brown.20141023_193404

Nice and puffy!
20141023_192036

If you time the recipe perfectly, you’ll serve the pita nice and warm as a dinner side, and your family or guests will call you a hero for the rest of your life.
20141026_093341

But if you aren’t making the pita to go with a big meal, or if you have some leftover, pita makes for great toast. My favorite way to eat toasted pita is with a light smear of tahini, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkling of finely chopped pistachios and a pinch of flaky sea salt.

Perfection.

Don’t forget, if you like this recipe for homemade pita, please consider “breaking bread” by donating to The After School Special’s fundraiser for UNICEF’s Children of Syria charity. Your every donation, small or large, makes a big difference a child in need. Thank you so much!

Syria Donate Button

{click the UNICEF button to donate to The After School Special’s fundraiser for children in Syria}