I recently found a chicken gyro recipe that me and my husband are obsessed with. I made a naan recipe for it the first time, but the bread just wasn’t quite right, so I went in search of a pita bread recipe to make the perfect Greek meal. I found this one and was amazed you could actually make your own pita pockets at home! I was skeptical that I’d be able to get them to puff up and make the real deal pocket, but lo and behold they did! I was beyond stoked and felt quite accomplished. Haha! They’re soft and chewy and they are perfect to stuff full of whatever goodies you can come up with.
- 1 pckg active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp dry milk
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Proofing the Yeast
This is the number one thing that will make or break just about any bread recipe and it’s something I had a lot of trouble with when I started making my own bread. The old adage of “practice makes perfect” fits making bread to a tee. Eventually, after lots and lots of sad flat bread, I began to figure it out and I got a “feel” for it. Hopefully these pictures will help if you have trouble making bread.
Microwave the water for 1 minute and then stir in the honey and the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and leave for about 10 minutes, until the yeast starts to foam and bubble. If it doesn’t foam or bubble within 10 minutes, then your yeast is likely bad and you need to scrap it and start over.
In a large bowl, or your Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, add the flour, salt and powdered milk then drizzle the olive oil over the top. Rub the olive oil into the flour with your fingertips, mixing the dry milk and salt in at the same time. Keep rubbing until the oil has been completely absorbed by the flour.
Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast water mix and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir to form a dough, or use the dough hook attachment for your stand mixer.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Begin kneading until the dough becomes soft and elastic (about 5-7 minutes). You may or may not need the additional 1/2 cup of lukewarm water. I’ve found that both times I added it, my dough became too sticky and wet. Just add it a little at a time and keep kneading slowly incorporating however much is needed for your dough to still be soft and elastic.
One really fun tip I got from the original recipe was how to get a smoother dough. Simply lift the dough and slam it onto your counter top 7-10 times as you knead it. Oh man it is so much fun!
Lightly oil a bowl (I usually use the same bowl I mixed the dough up in) and lightly coat the dough ball in oil. Allow to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. It took about 2 hours for me.
Another tip I picked up (I don’t remember exactly where) is to turn your oven on to 350 F for one minute and then turn it off. Then let your dough rise in that warm oven.
When the dough doubles in size punch it down and then pinch off about 12-15 pieces and roll to form into balls. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and let sit covered with a damp towel for 10-15 minutes.
Begin preheating your oven to the highest setting it will go (mine was 500 F) and be sure to preheat your cookie sheet or pizza stone along with it. Put the rack at the bottom.
Roll out each ball into circles and then lay on a table or board covered with a dry towel and let them rest for 10 minutes. Obviously my “circles” are a little wonky, but hey, they’re edible!
Gently place dough circles on your preheated baking sheet, being careful to not wrinkle it since wrinkles will keep it from puffing up. My super duper helpful hubby took some pictures for me and kept our little girl from getting too close while the oven door was open.
Bake each batch for 2-5 minutes till the bread puffs up and then flip it and bake about 2 more minutes.
Remove the finished bread and serve hot or cover with a dry towel until they cool down.
If you leave the bread uncovered and let it cool completely it will get dry and crunchy. Be sure to put it in a ziplock as soon as it begins to cool so you have soft, chewy bread. They are supposed to freeze well, so I’ll let you know how that turns out. Enjoy!