Monday, March 12, 2012

Pita Pocket Perfection

I have been on a hummus, spread, and dip kick lately.  The problem with most varieties of these, however, is that they are loaded with cream, butter, mayonnaise, fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and tons (pun intended) guilt.  That's precisely why I re-imagined them in a healthy manner.  As previously blogged, each are incredible.

Since I went to the trouble of making each dip, hummus, and spread healthy, it only makes sense to pair them with healthy dipping vessels.  Chips, crackers, and sourdough are of course delicious, but when one's (my) metabolism is no faster than the growth rate of a redwood tree despite miles and miles of exercise, creating a healthy dipping vessel is imperative.  Hello, pita bread.

I have always thought that making pita bread would be difficult and time consuming.  Where does the perfect pocket come from!?!?!  Don't fret, French culinary technique is not necessary though.  A few ingredients located no farther than your pantry, ten minutes of your time, and a little patience while the dough rises; that's all that is needed.  Hey--go for a run while waiting for the yeast to do its thing!

I will never buy store bought pita bread again.  Ever.  And you shouldn't have to either.  Throw in some spices, some garlic, or different kinds of flour and the variations are endless. 




Pita Bread:
  • 1 1/8 cups warm water (110 degrees-ish)
  • 3 cups flour (my favorite combination is 2 cups of wheat and 1 of all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  1. Proof the yeast by pouring it into a measuring cup with the warm water.  Let sit until foamy.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a bread machine and knead using the dough setting.  You can also put the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, pour in the yeast and water mixture, and knead by hand.
  3. Place dough ball in a medium bowl and cover with a towel.  Let rise until doubled, one hour to 90 minutes.
  4. Roll and stretch the dough into a foot long rope.
  5. Cut and divide into 8-10 pieces.  (Each should be about the size of a racquetball.)
  6. With a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each ball into a 6 to 7 inch circle.
  7. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place as many pitas as will fit on a wire rack.  Bake pitas on 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown.  Removed from oven and immediately place in a damp kitchen towel until soft (just a few minutes).
  8. Serve with your favorite dip, spread, hummus, or all three.

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