You know how each person seems to have one thing that she simply can’t do, no matter how hard she might try?
For me, that thing is bread-baking.
Countless flat, leaden, marginally-edible loaves of bread have come out of my kitchen; I’ve tried dozens of recipes and read pretty much every tip out there, but I always end up with paperweights (if the paper you need to hold down is perhaps in a typhoon).
It is because of my bread-baking failures that I. Love. Pita. Bread.
Seriously. If you haven’t made pita bread at home (particularly if you are a Spectacular Failure At Bread-Baking like I am), you’ve got to try it. It will make you feel like a kitchen rockstar.
I tried a lot of recipes and had only modest success until I stumbled upon this one from The Fresh Loaf. Y’all, this is like the Holy Grail of pita bread recipes. The very first time I tried it, every last one of my pitas puffed, which I didn’t even think was possible.
It’s a crazy-easy recipe and most of the work is done by your mixer and, well, time. From start to finish, the pitas take around 2 hours; at the end, you’ll be rewarded by soft, warm, puffy little rounds of goodness. They freeze really well, thaw quickly, and reheat perfectly. I generally pop them in the toaster oven for 3 or so minutes, and they repuff and taste freshly-baked. Love that!
If you do try the recipe, here are a few things I’ve learned:
- The flavor is vastly improved by adding whole wheat flour; I use 1 c. of whole wheat and 2 c. of all purpose, and the texture remains pillowy and soft, but with the lovely nuttiness from the whole wheat.
- Hover over your oven after the three-minute mark. My pitas never truly puff until right around three minutes, at which point I keep them in a bit longer. I like the browning that happens around 4 minutes, but you know your oven, so just pull them out when they look tasty to you.
- After they come out of the oven, I like them to stay soft, so I tuck them into a plastic container lined with a damp tea towel. A gallon-sized freezer bag would work, too. It doesn’t have to be airtight, but you want that little bit of heat and steam to keep your pitas from becoming crackers!
- Lastly, sometimes pitas just don’t puff, even when you do everything right. Don’t worry about it; unpuffed pitas make great pita pizzas or pita chips!
If you have older kids, this would be such a fun recipe to try with them – JB is too small to help with the baking, but he loves looking in the oven and seeing “balloons”:
Now go make some pita bread!