Title: Basic Pita
Yield: 24 servings
2 c Warm water (90 to 100
2 Envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 ts Sugar
2 ts Salt
5 To 5 1/2 cups unbleached
-all-purpose flour, plus
-flour for kneading
Pour the water into a large bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and stir to
dissolve. Stir the sugar and salt into the yeast mixture thoroughly
with a wooden spoon. Gradually add 5 cups of the flour, stirring
constantly until the dough is smooth. Slowly work in the remaining
flour with your hands, kneading until the dough is no longer sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured board and knead until smooth
and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Shape the dough into an even rectangle and cut in half, lengthwise.
Divide each half into 12 portions for small pitas, 6 for larger ones.
Shape each into a smooth ball. Place balls on a floured surface and
cover them with a slightly damp towel while you roll out one at a
time. Gently press each ball flat with your fingers, keeping it well
rounded. Flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll each round
from the center to the outside edge, giving the dough a 1/4 turn
after each roll, to form a perfect circle not quite 1/4-inch thick (5
to 5 1/2 inches in diameter for small pitas; about 8 1/2 inches for
Carefully flip the circles over to smooth out any creases that might
prevent the pockets from forming.
Fifteen minutes before the loaves have finished rising, preheat the
oven to 500F and place an ungreased baking sheet in the oven to heat.
As each bread is rolled, place it carefully on a floured surface and
cover with a clean, dry towel; do not let the surfaces dry out, and
let rise in a warm, draft-free area for 30 to 45 minutes.
To bake, place 4 small pitas or I large one on the hot baking sheet.
Bake on the bottom rack of the oven until puffed and lightly browned
on the bottom, almost white on top, about 4 minutes for small pitas
and about 3 1/2 minutes for large; the pita will be soft and
flexible. If desired, flip the loaves over after they have puffed and
bake for up to 1 minute longer to brown tops; be VERY careful not to
let pita get crisp and brittle.
Remove hot pitas from oven and wrap immediately in clean, dry towels
until cool enough to handle. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Repeat baking process until all breads are baked.
Makes 24 small or 12 large pitas.
From "Pita the Great"
From the San Francisco Chronicle, 8/10/88.