Pitta

A friend who likes houmous came round and I couldn’t bear to give him the supermarket pitta that always tastes of chemicals. So I decided to make my own, based on this recipe. Apart from calling it “pitta bread”, the recipe is quite good but goes on a bit and I felt needed a bit of adaptation. Especially the idea that 500g flour makes 10 rounds of pitta – those are some monsters I can tell you. I made the first 5 that size; they came out the same surface area as the later, more pitta-like ones, but thick, more like naan.

I was quite surprised how easy this is, and how successful and delicious the results were at first attempt. They certainly got gobbled up pretty quickly.

This makes about 15 rounds of pitta. That’s quite a lot, but you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few days (see below, yet to be tested). Or you could halve the quantities.

Mix in a jug:

100ml warm water
10g dried yeast
1 teaspoon sugar.

Leave for about 10 minutes until it starts to froth.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, put:

500g flour (I used 400g strong plain and 100g Gilchester wholewheat).
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Add in the yeast mix and some more warm water (about 2-300 ml). I added too much and the dough was a bit sticky. Cover a board with flour and knead. Sprinkle extra flour if it’s too sticky. I had to sprinkle quite a lot because I added too much water.

Put in an oiled bowl, turn in the oil to cover whole surface, cover with a damp towel and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively stand in a warm place for about 2 hours: you know it has fully risen if the dough doesn’t spring back when poked.

In the morning (or when risen), knock back the dough and divide into pieces about 50g, form into balls, cover with a damp towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes. On a floured surface roll into pitta shaped pieces. The pieces should be about 130 cm² (in old measures, pieces should be roughly 7×3″ or 5×4″ or whatever). Which is to say, quite thin.

Cover and rest for 20 mins. One by one, use an egg slice to turn a pitta onto a lightly oiled pre-heated skillet or griddle pan or frying pan, so that what was the top cooks first, turn occasionally until nicely browned (about 3 minutes). With a bit of luck the pitta will puff up. Cool on a wire tray and serve. Note that this is time consuming if you have to do it 15 times in one session. But the results are fab.

You don’t have to make it all at once. I put some of the dough in a plastic bag and made another batch in the evening. Recipes suggest that you can keep the dough refrigerated for up to a week. I have yet to try this.

Another variant is to put the pitta in a very hot oven. I don’t know about yours, but our oven smells when very hot and that taints the bread. Nana used to grill the pitta. But I like the fried effect and the surface charring that you get with the griddle and it’s worth the effort.

The pitta go cold pretty quickly, but they’ll freshen up nicely with a few moments in the toaster just before you serve them.

UPDATE: for thicker bread, more like flatbread, that stays fresh longer, use balls of dough more like 65g, or roll the 50g ones out smaller.