Pita (round pocket bread)

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Pita
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  • 30 6-inch (15 cm) pitas ServingsServings

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 4 cups (1liter) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • 5 pounds (2.25 kg) organic white flour
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) neutral tasting oil, such as safflower oil

Preparation

1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the warm water. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to start activating. Yeast activation should take about 10 minutes; it will be bubbling and foamy.

2. Set 1 cup (125 g) of flour aside. Sift the remaining flour, and salt into the bowl. With a spatula, combine the ingredients. Once the ingredients come together as dough, it is time to knead. At this point, you can remove the dough from the bowl and knead on the kitchen counter if it’s easier for you, or directly in the bowl.

3. To knead the dough: Grab the side of the dough furthest away from you and fold it toward yourself. Fold the dough in half and use your body weight to push the dough into itself. If you find that the dough is sticking too much to the surface and preventing you from kneading properly, dust some flour on the dough. Give the dough a quarter turn (90 degrees). Grab the other side and fold it in half. Again, with a lot of weight behind it, push the newly folded half into itself. Repeat this process for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is smooth, silky, elastic, and does not stick to the surface.

4. After the dough is thoroughly prepared, grease the large bowl with a fine layer of oil, turning the dough in the oil several times so that the dough is greased lightly on all sides.

5. Cover the bowl with a large plastic garbage bag or kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 40 minutes.

6. Make the blessing on Hafrashat Challah

7. Knead the dough again for a few more minutes and then divide the dough into 30 balls.  Use the remaining flour, for the surface area and hands to prevent sticking. Roll each piece into a 6-inch (15 centimeters) pancake. Cover with kitchen towel and let them rise again in a warm place for 20 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 500*F (260* C) with a cookie sheet on the oven’s bottom rack.  The hot cookie sheet will facilitate the pita baking process.

9. Place approximately six pitas on the hot cookie sheet, separating each pita by 2 inches (5 centimeters). Bake on the bottom rack for 3-4 minutes, flip over and then bake for another 2 minutes.  You want the pitas puffed and lightly colored, not browned. Continue this process in batches until all pitas are baked.

10. If the pita puffs up once out of the oven, gently pierce it with a fork. Wrap the pitas in a towel till they are cool, then store in plastic bags until ready for use. You can store in the freezer for up to 2 months to retain freshness.