These are so simple to knock up using a bread maker – and there is nothing nicer for lunch that a freshly baked pitta bread with some dips and salad.
Sweatpea has a favourite frugal packed lunch of home-made hummus with pitta breads, so I make this dough in he evening and store it in a covered plastic tub in the fridge. This dough sits very happily in the fridge all night and in the morning I remove a golf-ball sized lump and allow it to come to room temperature before rolling and baking in my mini halogen oven to create one perfectly fresh pitta bread for his packed lunch box.
So much nicer than a supermarket vacuum pack.
PITTA BREADS – makes 12
1 cup of warm water
3 cups of strong white flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp easy blend yeast
1 tsp sugar
Place all the ingredients into the bread maker and set for a dough cycle.
When the cycle is complete, take the dough from the machine and working on a floured board, draw the dough into a flattened ball shape.
Preheat your oven to 230 – it needs to be hot. Place your baking sheet in to preheat and a shallow baking tray on the bottom shelf (you will need this to create some steam later)
With a large sharp knife divide the dough into 12 segments – cutting the circle in half, into quarters and cutting each quarter in 3 slices just like cutting slices of cake. Each segment will be one pitta bread.
Using plenty of flour and a rolling pin, take each segment and lie it on one of its cut sides and roll down its length to create a “hand-long” sized pitta, then roll it sideways to create a “hand-wide” sized pitta. Set it to one side as you roll out the others.
You can open freeze the pitta breads at this stage. Just defrost before cooking and they will be fine.
If you are cooking the pittas now, then lay them on the preheated baking sheet and slide quickly back into the oven. Throw half a dozen ice-cubes into the hot tray on the bottom shelf (they will quickly melt and create a cloud of steam which will help the pittas puff up.
They literally take 5 minutes to cook – and you should remove them as soon as they puff up but before they take on more than a pale colour otherwise they will be crispy rather than soft.
Leave to cool down wrapped in a clean tea-towel.
Serve the pittas warm with dips or soups, or split them open and stuff with falafel, kebab or salad. Hey even work nicely with a homemade beef-burger tucked inside at a barbeque.