Every time I had pita bread as a child I was wondering how that hollow pocket got in there. It must be some sort of magic! Or maybe not… now when I have baked my one pita pockets I know that it’s just simple food science that creates this hollow interior. But I have to admit that it’s still a bit fascinating to see the pita breads puffing up in the oven. Tada! From flat to pocket within just a few minutes baking time.
The secret behind the puffing is the heat and the thin surface. When the pita is in the oven, the bottom and the upper part of the bread become hotter and thus tougher than the interior. Inside the bread steam is forming. When the steam evaporates the two surfaces is teared apart and the bread puffs up.
I really do recommend you try this recipe because I’m sure you won’t go back to dry store-bought pitas after tasting this soft homemade one. And it’s not that hard to whip up. The thing that takes up most time is the proving and when the breads are resting you can also rest 🙂
What to fill your pita pockets with is totally up to you. But I can give you some inspiration if you run out of ideas. My absolute favorite (at least for the moment) is falafel, a tasty yoghurt sauce and some vegies. Kebab, chicken and a spicy chickpea stew are also great stuffings. You can even make pizzas, by placing your favorite topping on top and bake in a screaming hot oven for a few minutes. Cutting the bread into wedges which then are fried in some oil is a great snack to accompany humus.
Pita bread is also a perfect leftover food since it can be stuffed with whatever you have in the fridge. The breads are easy to freeze and together with your leftovers you can achieve a super yummy meal in just a few minutes.
Pita Bread – 8 breads
25 g fresh yeast
300 g water
50 g fine rye flour
370 g baking- or strong wheat flour
1 tsp salt
Oven: 275 °C
Crumble the yeast into a bowl and pour over the water. Use cold water if you want a bread with longer leavening time and a bit more flavor or take lukewarm water to speed up the process. Add the flour and knead the dough in a stand mixer with the dough hook attached for about 5 minutes or by hand for 10 minutes. Add the salt and work for another minute or so. Flour a working surface and divide the dough into 8 equal sized pieces. Roll each piece to a round ball and let them rest under a kitchen towel until doubled in size. As mentioned the resting time varies depending on the temperature of the dough liquid and how warm it’s in the room, but count with somewhere around 1 hour. Roll out each bun to a 15 cm circle and place the breads on a tray with parchment paper. Do not overfill the trays; I usually put 3-4 breads on each. Let the pitas rest once again, this time for around 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven. Once warm bake the breads for 6-8 minutes or until puffed up and lightly colored. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving with your choice of filling.