To begin making the Homemade Pita Bread recipe, first prepare all the ingredients and keep them ready. Read the entire recipe before you begin, so you know the steps that follow.
If you are using active dry yeast (look like small round balls) – follow the instructions given in the packet. Fast action yeast looks more like fine semolina and you can use this too to make the pita bread.
Note on Yeast: If you have baker’s instant yeast which resembles poppy seeds/fine semolina you don’t have to proof it, it can be added to the flour directly.
If you have non-bakers yeast – which is active dry yeast where the size resembles tiny balls, then it needs to be proofed. Below is how you will proof your yeast.
Proofing Yeast for the active dry yeast (which resembles small balls)
In a large bowl, add the 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar. Give the yeast, water and sugar a little stir. The water should be warm enough to really get the yeast active. Let the mixture stand for 5-10 minutes.
This allows the yeast enough time to gobble up all that sugar and produce plenty of carbon dioxide. Once it’s nice and bubbly, it’s ready to be incorporated into your mixture. If it does not bubble up, then the yeast is old and cannot be activated and cannot be used.
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and sugar and gradually add in the yeast and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, adding little flour if it tends to get sticky.
Once all of the ingredients form a ball; add the olive oil and place the ball on a work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. Repeated kneading combines all the ingredients well and will help the bread rise well in the oven.
Once you have finished kneading and gained enough arm muscle; place the dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil and cover it with cling wrap/plastic wrap and allow it to rise for about 2 hours. After two hours you will notice that the dough has doubled. At this point punch the dough down and kneaded gently.
Divide the dough into 10 portions and roll each portion into a ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp cloth and let them sit for another 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 250 C. The oven should be preheated for at least half an hour before you can bake the pitas in them. Now it should be time to work your dough into flat bread.
Take one ball, dust it with a little flour and dust the work surface as well. Using a rolling pin, roll the pita into an oval or a circle. Make sure the pitas are thin; about 1/8th inch or 1/4 inch thick. Continue the same with the remaining dough balls.
Place the rolled portion of pita bread on dusted baking sheets and place it inside the oven. Bake the pita dough until they puff – you will see them rising forming bubbles, to slowly puffing and fully puffing up.
The whole process takes a maximum or 3-5 minutes and not more than 5 minutes. If the pita bread does not rise in 5 minutes, then take them out. The Pita Bread will still be cooked, but just wont have pockets and will still taste just as good.
Serve the delicious Homemade Pita Bread along with Tabbouleh, Falafel and Hummus