If you’ve taken my bread making advice, you have a container of bread dough in your fridge. It’s great for making a few rolls, or a few loaves.
But did you know you can also make pita (or pitta) bread using that same dough? You know those lovely little bread pockets you can fill with whatever to make a portable sandwich that actually holds its filling in place? They seem kinda magical, don’t they? But they’re actually really easy to make! You don’t even need a bicycle pump.
My current breakfast routine is as follows:
- Start the coffee and set the toaster oven (or your regular oven) preheating to 450°. Put some kind of cast iron or stoneware baking surface in the oven at the beginning of the preheating so it gets hot at the same time the oven does. (I use a six-inch cast iron frying pan. Since I don’t use it for much else, I just leave it in the toaster oven all the time.)
- Pull the container of bread dough out of the fridge and set it and the flour canister on the counter next to a dough-rolling surface of some kind. (I have a flexible plastic cutting board I only use for rolling dough for pies, biscuits or whatever (to ensure that it’s not meat-contaminated. It kinda lives in my dish rack because I use it every day, so it never gets put away. There, I said it).
- Sprinkle a little flour on the cutting board, and a little on the top of the container of dough. Pull out a walnut-sized piece of dough and form it into a more-or-less perfect sphere, sticking your thumbs in and pulling the dough around the resulting dent until the sphere is smooth. It’s like a mini version of kneading.
- Plunk the dough sphere into the flour canister so it gets covered with flour and then flatten it a little into a round disk shape. Slap it down on the floured cutting board; roll it out as thin as possible, trying to keep as round a shape as you possibly can, and keeping the size of your cooking surface in mind.
- Lift the dough circle onto one hand and with the other (potholdered) hand, open the oven door and lift out your hot baking surface or frying pan or whatever. Slap the dough circle down on the hot surface, trying at all costs to keep it from getting any wrinkles in it. This takes a little practice, but the worst that will happen is that your pita won’t balloon up evenly. It’ll still be edible.
- Shove the baking surface back into the oven and set a timer for five minutes. If there’s a window in your oven, and if it’s actually clean enough to see through, you can watch the pita ballooning up. Whee.
- Remove your backing surface from the oven and turn the newborn pita onto a cooling rack. Voila!
- Let the pita cool a little bit, then cut it in half with scissors and stuff it with scrambled eggs, or whatever you fancy in the way of breakfast/lunch/dinner foods. If you cut it when it’s still very hot, the cut edges may stick together. Just use the scissors to open them up again.
Such a versatile little bread! And always fresh. If you use a toaster oven, it takes practically no time to preheat, and your fresh bread will be done before the coffee is!
Here are some suggestions for using your pita bread.
Let us know it goes. We want to hear about your experiments.