Pita Bread

Like a child learning which block goes in which hole, I will put hummus on anything and hope it works. That may be a piss-poor metaphor for what I’m about to say, but segues are cool. Not segways, though. What’s the point of them really? Leave a comment and tell me because I honestly don’t know.

Anyway, nothing tastes as good with hummus as a quality pita. There. Pitas also offer the added bonus of being hollow, and are therefore capable of holding an amount of food somewhere between decadence and gluttony.

pita-stackThere’s a huge difference between a store-bought pita and homemade. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. I’ve never had store-bought pita so I really don’t know. Pita is so easy to make, why bother buying it? Cover yourself in flour and dance around the kitchen once in a while. It’s good for the soul. You’ll be a kinder, happier, and sweatier person for doing it. ball-o-dough

Baking bread of any kind is viscerally pleasing. It’s a connection to the past — not just your past, or your grandmother’s past, but humanity’s collective past. Isn’t that neat? People have been baking bread practically as long as they’ve been fucking. In the Middle Ages, people even used bread as part of the foreplay process. But I’m not asking you to do that. I’m just asking you to give pita a chance.


Pita Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Optional:

  • Cumin
  • Paprika

Makes 8 pitas
Prep: 1 hour, plus 1 hour rising
Vegan

Instructions:

  1. In a 2- or 4-cup measuring glass, combine yeast and sugar with 1 cup lukewarm water (about 110° F) and let it set covered in a warm place for a few minutes. If it starts to ferment and foam on top, congrats. You didn’t kill your yeast. That’s the hardest part of bread-making.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast-mixture with the whole-wheat flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Whisk together. Put bowl in a warm place, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Add salt, olive oil, and remaining flour. With a wooden spoon, stir until mixture forms a shaggy mess. Knead in bowl for 1 minute.
  4. Turn dough onto floured work surface. Knead until smooth (about 2 minutes). Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead again for 5 minutes.
  5. Put dough in a clean large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Put in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Heat oven to 475°F. Place a large cast-iron pan on the bottom shelf of the oven. If you don’t have a cast-iron pan, a heavy-duty baking sheet will work. I try to cook with cast-iron as often as possible, though. Food absorbs the iron, which is great if you’re vegan.
  7. Punch down dough and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into ball. Cover balls with a damp towel and leave for 10 minutes.
  8. One ball at a time, use a floured rolling pin to roll out into a thin circle with a diameter of about 8 inches. Keep the other balls covered with a towel while you do this.
  9. Carefully put the dough on the hot pan. It will puff after 2 minutes in the oven. Flip with tongs and bake for one more minute. Remove from oven, repeat with the remaining dough.
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