Monday, July 19, 2010

Pita Pockets Recipe

Doesn't that look good? I ate it for lunch. A homemade stuffed pita pocket with freshly made Smooth Sweet Tea. I love pita pockets and seriously they are always 100 times better than the store bought brand. I have a problem though..My pitas are a bit shy. How shall I put this? They have performance issues..they fail to "rise to the occasion" so to speak. I only had one puff up for me and I ate that one for lunch.

I think I figured the problem out though. I seriously rolled them out to far. As you can tell by this photo the puffed up one is the smallest of them all.
 I guess in this case..bigger isn't always better! I'm really annoyed though and plan to make these again. They are pillowy soft,taste wonderful and if I can get them to rise it will be my new go to recipe. Thanks to Beantown Baker for the recipe. She got it from the Fresh Loaf (wich also includes photos of the process) They have the best recipes on that sight. So go make some fresh pita pockets and don't stretch the poo out of them like I did!

Pita Pockets..Makes 8
 3 cups Flour
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1 TBS Sugar or Honey..I used honey
1 packet of Yeast(or if from bulk,2 teaspoons yeast)
1-1/4to1-1/2 cups Water,room temp
2 TBS Olive oil,Vegetable Oil,butter,or shortening

If using active dry yeast,follow instructions on the packet to activate it(mine says to just add it in with the dry ingredients) Otherwise,mix the yeast in with the flour,salt,and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1-1/4 cups water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour won't stick to the ball,add more water. I think I only needed about 1 teaspoons worth.

Place the ball on a work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 mins. If you are using an electric mixer,mix at low speed for 10 minutes. My dough was slightly sticky so I dusted my hands with some flour when I started to knead.

Place a small amount of oil in the bottom of a large bowl. Place the ball of kneaded dough inside and coat both sides with the oil. Cover with either plastic wrap or damp towel and place in warm spot to rise until doubled in size..About 90 minutes.

When doubled in size, punch the dough down and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball,cover the balls with a damp towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it will be easier to shape.
 While the dough is resting,preheat the oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat aswell. If you do not have one,turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on wich you bake your pitas.

After 20 minutes,spread a light coating of flour on a counter top and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should beable to roll it out between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. If the dough doesn't want to stretch properly you can cover it with a damp towel and let is rest 5to10mins before trying again.

Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 mins. 
If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown leave them in for another 3-5mins,but it isn't necessary. **3 mins in my own wasn't long enough for them to rise up. I needed 5 mins but I think my oven runs cooler than it should.**