I tried many a pita recipe, but was never satisfied, until…
I found this recipe with the perfect puff rate. Every time I have made this pita, every single one has puffed up like a balloon resulting in the famous pita pocket.
The recipe is from www.farmgirlfare.com, it seems she adapted it from Bernard Clayton. They put the pita in the oven on foil claiming that it allows a softer heat to surround the dough allowing it to puff, however I simply put the pita on a pizza stone, or a baking sheet, or a pizza screen and have always had a 100% puff rate.
She also says to use a wooden spoon but I just use a sturdy plastic one.
I think the real secret is in the stirring and kneading (so don’t slack on these steps, its work, but worth it for sure), and making sure that the oven is hot at 500 degrees before you put any pita in.
Here it goes:
2-1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water (not too hot to touch, 105-110 degrees)
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour with the salt, sugar, and yeast.
Add the oil and water.
*Beat vigorously with a large sturdy spoon for 3 minutes (important to be vigorous gota incorporate some air into the mix, and its kinda fun/a little workout)
Listen to this instead of using a timer: Its like musical chairs but stirring, when it starts you start, when it’s done your done, try and keep up with the beat.
Stir in the rest of the flour in ½ cup increments.
She describes the dough as a rough, shaggy mass. It will be slightly softer than a pizza dough (not as springy) and a little stickier, but it shouldn’t be too sticky too handle with floured hands.
Now knead for 6 minutes, I usually just knead in the bowl.
Play musical kneading:
Sprinkle some flower on a baking sheet.
Separate the dough into 8 pieces for big pita, or I like to do 14-16 pieces for smaller pita.
Roll into balls, place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with flour.
Cover with a damp towel, and let rest for at least 30 min.
While the dough rests preheat the oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone, baking sheet, pizza screen or whatever your cooking on inside.
After 30 min. Flatten each ball into a disk and roll out to somewhere between ¼ and 1/8th an inch. (Try not to handle the dough to much, and make sure to keep it flat when your putting it in the oven/moving it. I usually let the disks sit a little before putting them in the oven just by rolling out all the disks, and putting the first ones rolled in first, and then letting the other ones rest while those cook)
Make sure the oven is at heated to 500 degrees (may need to allow it to heat up some between batches)
And place some of the pita in the oven,
after about 5 min they should be puffing up, keep an eye on them.
If they start to get a little browned remove.
I like to cut a slit through 1 layer of each pita down the middle, so they are ready to be filled. Be careful not to pop the pita in your hand, all that hot air would really hurt.
They are the very best right out of the oven.