Do you guys remember pita pockets? They loom large in my memory as a type of bread my mom would use sometimes when packing my lunch, roughly 15 years ago. They made any sandwich special, from peanut butter and jelly to ham and cheese.
I don’t know if pitas have fallen out of favor or if I have just forgotten about them, but they leapt into my mind last week as I was searching for a way to serve lamb leftovers. There’s a restaurant in town that makes amazing lamb gyros, and that inspired me to make a copycat version at home. Rather than buy the pita, though, I made this easy recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook.
In a way, this recipe is appropriate for my first non-Paleo foray. I did a lot of research this week and have been investigating the Mediterranean Diet. Like Paleo, it’s a lifestyle that focuses on whole, unprocessed food. But instead of eliminating whole food groups, it aligns much more closely with the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate and allows for almost anything in moderation. Sugar, dairy, animal fat and red meat are limited; plants and whole grains form the bottom of the food pyramid.
So these pitas fit right in. These are made with whole wheat instead of just refined white flour, giving them more flavor and a more solid bite than typical pitas. While it’s not suitable for celiacs (sorry, guys), it doesn’t use refined sugar and is even vegan if you’re the type of vegan who eats honey.
We ate these all last week with lamb leftovers and with a great quinoa salad that I’ll post soon. They go well with everything from salad to soup, and if you’re craving a sweet, these are wonderful toasted with jam or honey. Enjoy!
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. If it doesn’t foam, stop everything, toss what you have, and start over. Your yeast is already dead.
- Stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture unto yeast mixture until smooth.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 mins,
- Stir oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining flour mixture into yeast mixture until a dough forms.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep from sticking. Knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball, transfer to an oiled large bowl (you can clean and oil the original large bowl if you like), and turn bowl to coat with oil.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten one ball and roll into a 6 1/2 inch round on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to a baking sheet. Make 7 more rounds in the same manner, arranging four each on two baking sheets.
- Loosely cover with a kitchen towel (not terrycloth) and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Put rack in lover third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Transfer four pitas, one at a time, directly onto the oven rack. Bake until just puffed and golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over, using tongs, and bake for another minute. Cool pitas on a wire rack for 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep warm.
- Bake remaining pitas in the same manner. Serve warm. To reheat, wrap in foil and heat for 10 to 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
- These will last a few days in a ziploc bag; they can also be frozen, then thawed, then reheated in an oven.