How many times have you grabbed a packet of shop bought, long-life Pitta breads off the supermarket shelf? We all have at one time or another, and of course they are great when you are in a hurry. Bite into a freshly baked home-made pitta and you will struggle to go back, no matter how busy you are.
They are not difficult to make and though the time may seem long, most of that is spent on the proving time, leaving you time to do other things.
The downside, if there must be one, is they do not keep so well and I recommend making batches and freezing any you don't eat as they defrost quickly and taste good.
- 250 g white bread flour (strong)
- 250 g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fast yeast (also known as easy-blend)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or cold-pressed rapeseed oil)
- 300 ml water (warm, but not hot, you may need a little more or less)
You can make this bread by hand or use a stand mixer.
Mix the strong and plain flour together and sieve into a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer if using. On one side of the bowl sprinkle the salt and on the opposite, the yeast (never place salt directly onto yeast of any type or you will kill it).
Add the oil and 3/4 of the water and mix thoroughly to form a wet, soft dough; add more water a little at a time and do not be surprised if the dough needs more.
Knead the dough either by hand on a lightly floured work surface or in the mixer for 5 - 6 minutes. Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave to stand for 20 minutes.
Knead again for 5 minutes, cover and leave for 20 minutes. Repeat one final time.
Divide the dough equally into six pieces (or eight if you want smaller Pitta) and roll each into a ball. Leave the balls covered with a cloth while you heat the oven.
Place a baking stone (if you have one) into the centre of the oven, or a heavy baking sheet. Heat the oven to 230 ° C/ 450 ° F /Gas 8 and leave for 15 minutes to make sure the stone or tray and searing hot.
Roll each dough ball into an oval approx 5mm / ¼ inch thick.
Open the oven door and quickly drop the bread two at a time onto the stone-tray and bake for a couple of minutes until ever so slightly starting to brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you cook another two. Repeat.
The Pitta are best eaten warm and on the day they are made. If not eating them immediately, cover and store in an airtight tin, but seriously, don't leave them too long.