Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Homemade Pita bread

Hello, everyone!  I am so excited about the posts for this week!  Today,  I'm going to go over making some homemade pita bread, and then Thursday, I'm going to make up the rest of these amazing gyros, with homemade Greek chicken, tzatziki sauce and olive topping.  This has a few steps involved, but they can be done ahead of time, and the end result really is so worth it!
Pita bread is a very easy bread to make, and an excellent one to start with, if you're just starting off in the world of bread making.  The steps to make this pita bread are very similar to the steps involved in making homemade tortilla shells (homemade tortilla shells and chicken enchiladas).  As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, these gyros are a lot like a burrito, stuff with meat and cheese, roll it up as much as you can, and eat!
So, let's get started on this!  I can't wait!

Here's your grocery list for this one:
2 tsp instant yeast
1 C hot water*
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
2 1/2-3 C all purpose flour
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 Tbs Olive oil
Vegetable oil for skillet

*Normally, when making bread, I stress using warm water, not hot.  Like I mention in my fluffy yeast rolls post, you usually want the water to be ever so slightly warmer than the inside of your wrist, like when you test a baby's bottle.  However, with this recipe, you want really hot water, but not boiling.  I just turned my faucet in the kitchen to the hottest setting, and let it get steaming hot.
This is goes pretty quickly, but I like to take step by step pictures of everything, as you know, so let's get started!
To start off with, put your yeast and sugar into the bowl of your mixer, then pour the water and let that rest for the yeast to bloom.  You want the yeast to be foamy, this should take 5-15 (sometimes a little more, depending on how old your yeast is) minutes.

Add in your flour (starting with 2 1/2 C), salt, and olive oil, then mix it with a paddle attachment, until it just comes together.  Once the dough comes together, swap out the paddle attachment, attach the dough hook, and let this knead, in the machine, for 8 minutes, adding more flour if you need to.  I ended up adding an extra 1/4 C, but you can add up an extra 1/2 C if you need to.

Take your dough out, pour a little bit (about 1 tsp) of olive oil into the bowl, return the dough to the bowl, and turn the dough around so that it is coated in the oil.  Cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for a hour, until it is doubled.

Once your dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Lightly knead it for a couple of minutes, until it has come smooth, and divide up into 8 equal pieces.  I show you my method for evenly dividing my dough in the fluffy yeast rolls post.

Roll one of the balls, and lightly flatten into a disk.  This helps to make it into an even circle, not that it is important to have a perfect circle.  A wonky shaped pita will still make a tasty delivery vehicle for your gyro!  Roll your pita dough into an 8-9" circle, while a cast iron skillet is preheating over medium heat.

Once your skillet has preheated, add in 1 tsp of vegetable and lay in your first pita dough circle.  While your pita dough circle is cooking, roll out your next dough ball.  Once you get into your groove, you'll find it goes pretty quickly.

You'll notice very quickly that your pita bread will puff up with air bubbles.  This is what you want to happen!  Once your pita has cooked for 2-3 minutes, flip it over, and let the second side cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
These are amazing just on their own, fresh out of the skillet, or filled with gyro fillings, or even sliced into and filled!  
Please come back Thursday, and see how these lovelies get finished off!