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Pillowy soft, tender-chewy, rather addictive, homemade pita bread, reminiscent of naan, that begs to be swooped, stuffed or torn.  You know you waaahnt it. 

Yes!  Finally

After quite a bit of trial and error with more than a handful of different recipes, I now happily exclaim, "Eureka!"  I have found the pita bread recipe. 

Silly me!  I should have looked at one of my all time fave food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, right from the get go.  Yessirreebob, Deb has done it again.  Thank-you, thank-you, lady-who-makes-delicious. 

You see, at our house, we're forever scooping, swooping and munching hummus, baba ghanoush and tzatziki

Or, on a good day, really needing to wrap slices of succulent, garlicky roast lamb up with sweet onions, ripe red tomatoes, chopped fresh oregano and tangy feta. 

Yes, yes, of course, store bought pita is good, and fits the bill.  But, as Sinead so aptly swoons, "nothing compares to you".  Yes, you, my lovely homemade pita bread. 

Pita-puffed-panThis is one fine recipe.  The pitas puff up beautifully in the pan.  They're light, but have the innate good nature to offer up a pleasing bite and beguiling texture. 

"A long rise in the fridge lends itself to a developed flavour we associate with high-end, artisanal breads." 

Simple ingredients, a tried and true method and a perfectly timed cook, will have you smiling smugly with accomplishment.

Oh my tasty pita, where, oh where, have you been all my life? 


PITA BREAD - Makes 10

3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups warm water

About 1 1/2 hours before shaping, or for best flavour development, 8 hours to 3 days ahead, mix the dough.

Make dough:  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients.  With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed just until all the flour is moistened, about 20 seconds.  Change to the dough hook, raise the speed to medium and knead for 10 minutes.  The dough should clean the bowl and be very soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch.  Add a little flour or water if necessary.

Let the dough rise:  Lightly oil or grease a 2-quart, or larger, bowl.  Press the dough down and lightly oil the top of it.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  With a piece of tape, mark the side of the bowl at approximately where double the height of dough would be.  Refrigerate the dough 8 hours, overnight, or up to 3 days, checking every hour for the first 4 hours and pressing down if it starts to rise.

Shape the dough:  Cut the dough into 10 pieces.  Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth.  On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk.  Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick.  Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before cooking.

To cook the pitas:  Preheat griddle, cast iron skillet or pan over medium-high heat.  Lightly grease the surface and cook the pitas one at a time.  Cook for about 20 seconds, then turn the dough and continue cooking for 1 minute or until big bubbles appear.  Turn the dough again and cook until the dough balloons.  If the dough begins to brown, lower the heat.  (We like our pitas with little golden brown patches, so we regulate the heat accordingly)  The entire cooking process for each pita should be about 3 minutes.

Now serve 'em up all toasty warm.  Ta da!