This shit RISES yo! It puffs up and makes the best pita bread you have ever eaten. Slice it open and insert your food and there will be no mess.
Recipe (makes 10-12 pita pockets):
- 1 tsp evaporated cane juice (wholesome sweeteners is vegan)
- 1/2 cup warm water (somewhere between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit for the yeast, my pleasing-yet-unreliable method is to stick my finger in and go, “hm, does that feel comfy for yeast?”)
- 1 package of yeast (or if you buy it in bulk, about 2.25 tsp).
Mix these items together. Let them sit 10-15 minutes, it will form a big foamy head. This means it is happy. If there is no foam, it will NOT make your dough rise. This is because it is UNhappy. The yeast being dead or the water being the wrong temperature may also be contributing factors.
Separately, in a big bowl, mix together:
- 3 cups flour (white whole wheat, King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill organic)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
Form it as if you were making a volcano in a sandbox, a big mountain with a chasm in the middle. Pour in the foamy yeast mix, and begin stirring it with one hand. With the other slowly/intermittently pour in:
- 1 cup warm water
Mix it in pretty well, and then take the whole fleshy ball and place it on a well floured counter or cutting board. Begin kneading it.
With this recipe, I continually flour the board generously throughout. I’d say I added at least 1/2 cup more of flour while kneading, in bits whenever it started sticking to everything. In fact, let’s add that to the ingredients for all of you pre-cooking recipe skimmers:
- 1/2 cup flour (white whole wheat, King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill organic)
Knead it for 15 minutes. Grab the front part of the dough and fold it back, and then push down with your palms. I love this part.
This is quite a vigorous workout for your yeast, as you could imagine, and so it needs a nice warm place to relax before the final race. Oil the inside of your mixing bowl, place the ball of dough in, then flip the dough (so that both sides are greased). Cover it with a towel, and put the bowl in a warm place (I actually set the bowl on top of a yogurt maker turned on, which provides a nice low-level heat. An oven turned on for a minute and then off for a minute should work well too)
Let the dough rise 2-3 hours, it should be double in size. Gently punch it down, pull it out of the bowl, and then knead it on your floured surface a couple minutes. The tear it into approximately 10-12 pieces.
At this point, move your oven rack to the lowest position in the oven (you will be baking there), and turn on your oven. You want it at 500 degrees. This is pretty hot, so listen carefully: when you open the oven, a gust/cloud/wave of burning heat will leap from the stove. So make SURE your face is turned away and you are out of the way. This blast of heat in your eyes hurts, so please look away.
Back to the dough. Take one the pieces, wet your fingertips, and knead it with your fingertips for about 10 seconds. Then put more flour down, and put the now-rounded piece in the flour, then flip it, and then roll it out with a rolling pin. You don’t want it too thin, maybe 1/4 inch. And as round as possible. Then set it aside for baking (note: I stack mine, but the bottom ones tend to stick together, I would recommend maybe not stacking them more then 6 high).
Once the oven is completely preheated (don’t begin until it is!!!), put your cookie sheet (or baking/bread stone if you have one. Hm, maybe a stone should be put in earlier, not sure) in the oven for a minute to warm it. Take it out, put some of the dough discs on it (I generally can fit 3/sheet), and then pop it back in the oven. After 4 minutes they should have blown up like a baloon, flip them. Bake them another 2 minutes. Take them out and put them on a cooling rack. Repeat until you’re done.
Make them. I usually make a double batch, and freeze half of them, as it is a bit time consuming; although it is worth the time. Make Hummus to go with it. You won’t be disappointed. Unless of course, you screw them up. . No need to worry if you follow the recipe. They WILL turn out. They taste super good. They are magnificently easy to cut open to slip in your food.
You can even Roll a few to be 3/4″ thick and eat ‘em like english muffins, and eat with Futter vegan butter. When cooked in the shape of a muffin they REALLY have the taste and consistency of a muffin when done. You should leave some extra dough for this amazing treat!