This is my first post for Greek Week! No, I’m not joining some sorority, I’m talking about Greek food! I made a delicious Greek-inspired dinner and I’m going to share pieces of it with you over the next several days. I’m really excited for my first theme week on my blog!!!
So, Greek food. I love Greek food but never made it at home mostly because Jeff isn’t a big fan of the stuff. So I went into this knowing that this meal was a little bit of a gamble, but I was going to blog about it anyway. This is Flora’s Food Foray!
This first recipe is the least gamble-y recipe in the bunch. It’s for homemade pita…. I know, fancy. I had never made homemade pita before. But I know Jeff likes pita, so this was a pretty safe bet… as long as I didn’t kill the yeast, and the dough rose, and the dough wasn’t overworked, and the pitas puffed, and I didn’t burn them. Maybe not such a safe bet now. Eep. But I saw a recipe for pita on Serious Eats and it looked pretty easy. The article gives a really good description of the process of making the pitas. So, I wasn’t too afraid that I would mess it up.
So off I went to make pitas! This recipe called for cooking the pita on the outdoor grill but I chose to cook the pitas in the oven because that day was in the 90’s and incredibly humid…. so I stayed in the A/C. I found this variation on Food Network that is pretty much the same pita recipe but using a pizza stone in the oven. Since I am not lucky enough to have one, I used a cookie sheet turned upside down. It seemed to do the trick! This is what the pitas look like when they go into the oven — sad and flat.
But after a few minutes, they puff! You can’t imagine how happy this made me! I couldn’t help looking at these things while they were puffing. It’s sort of cute, if baking bread can be such a thing. 😉
Just a word of caution, this recipe takes at least a day to make. The recipe suggests to refrigerate the dough overnight but you can make the dough up to 3 days ahead to time. So plan ahead when you make these babies!
Homemade Pita Bread
as adapted from Serious Eats
- 3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
In a small bowl, mix the yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water. Make sure the water is warm to the touch, between 100 and 110°F. If the water is too hot it will kill your yeast and your pitas won’t puff. Next, stir the sugar into the mixture. You know that the yeast is alive if after 10 minutes the mixture is foamy on top and smells like bread.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, yeast mixture, olive oil, and 1 cup of water. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the mixture is just combined. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed and knead for 10 minutes. Watch to make sure that the mixture doesn’t come up the side of the bowl, if it does then stop the mixer and push the dough to the bottom of the bowl. The dough should form into a smooth, cohesive ball and a little sticky to the touch.
Using an oiled spatula or a dough scraper, move the dough from the mixer bowl to a large oiled bowl. Oil the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough overnight (or up to 3 days), checking every hour for the first 4 hours and punch down the dough if it rises.
When you are ready to make the pitas, you can either cook them in the oven or on the grill. For grilling instructions, head over to Serious Eats. Preheat the oven to 425°F, and if you have a pizza stone, allow that to preheat in the oven as well. I don’t have a pizza stone so I just put a sheet pan upside down in the oven to preheat.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 8 to 12 pieces. Shape into balls and roll into circles, a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Allow to rest for 10-20 minutes.
Cook on the pizza stone (or inverted sheet pan), until the pitas start to bubble, puff, and turn golden (but not brown) in color, about 4-5 minutes each side. When you are ready to serve, reheat on the grill to get nice grill marks and enjoy!!