Serves: Makes ~20 Pita Breads
Approx cost: €0.50
Approx calories (per pita bread): ~120
Approx preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes + 60 minutes proving for the dough
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Every time I see pita bread for sale in stores these days I chuckle to myself. €1.40 for ~5 is a typical price around here. This recipe will make four times that quantity, for a third of the cost, and what’s even better is that, as with all home-made bread, you know that it doesn’t have nasty preservatives inside to keep the bread “fresh and edible” long after our sun has burned itself out, many millions of years into the future. There’s a time and a place for preservatives. My bread isn’t one of them. I’ve found that pita breads need a bit of care to get them “just right”. The dough is easy enough – it’s the baking process you need to watch out for. You have to pull these bad-boys out right when they’re puffing… that is, of course, assuming you want to split them and stuff them. Personally I find it’s a great bread just for tearing and dipping, but I know some people like to make sandwiches with them. If you’re one of those people, make sure you’re “oven-attentive” 🙂
This post happily coincides with my blog’s new year’s resolution to be more proactive in providing ethical, but frugal, tips and tricks to people. Anyone can say “go out and buy factory farmed eggs, they’re one third the price of organic, free-range, hurrrrrr”. That’s not really in keeping with my ethical mind-set though, while things like home-made pita are since if you can make bread (and if you don’t, you really should!) then you can certainly make these! I’ve been making all my own bread now for a couple of months and it’s fantastic. When I think about the savings I make on bakery loaves it makes me all warm inside 🙂 Some people may argue that you have to offset the savings against how much you value your time. Well – for me right now it’s a pleasure. When I’m smashing that dough around there’s no greater feeling 🙂
I’m now back from my vacation and am going to spend the weekend sorting out a few photos to present to you over my next few posts which I hope you’ll enjoy. Stay tuned as well for information about my upcoming giveaways which I’m quite excited about 🙂 Enjoy your weekends everyone!
- 500g Plain White Flour
- 325ml Water
- 4 tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp dried Yeast
- 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- Start off by heating the water to about 40 degrees. It should feel warm, but not hot to the touch. Mix the yeast and sugar together in a small bowl and pour in a little bit of the water – about 5 tbsps. Mix the yeast and water well using a fork or a small whisk and set aside to allow the yeast to activate. Next, place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in half of the oil (2 tbsps) and mix well. I like to use a balloon whisk to blend in the oil as it prevents any clumps of oil and flour from forming. Once the yeast has started bubbling, pour it into the flour mixture, along with the rest of the water and mix well with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well blended and you have a dough.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. After this, place the dough-ball back into the mixing bowl, pour over the remaining 2 tbsps of oil and then cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour, to allow the dough to rise.
- Once the dough has doubled inside take it back to your work surface. Turn on the oven to ~230 degrees Celsius to pre-heat and then punch down the dough and turn it onto the surface. Knead it gently for a couple of minutes and pull of pieces of dough about the size of a golf-ball. Roll them so they’re roughly spherical and then place them onto an area which is not floured. Using a rolling pin roll them back and forth, though only in one direction, to obtain the classic pita oblong shape (apparently this is only a classic shape in England though… in other countries they’re often round, so roll them as you like!). Keep going until they’re about 0.5 cm thick and then place them onto baking sheets. Put the breads into the oven and bake for about 3 minutes, or until they’ve puffed up. As they won’t bake quite so well on the underside, turn the breads over and bake again for about 1 minute more before removing from the oven.
- You can also using a baking stone, and then you won’t need to turn them, but that’s up to you. In any case, once they’ve cooked allow them to cool gently and then place them into bags. Enjoy them immediately or store them in the freezer for a later date! Enjoy 🙂