Living in the tropics is amazing until the spring and summer heat rises into the upper 90’s and 100’s of degrees (with 80-99% humidity).
Pita bread is my response to providing fresh, homemade bread in times of oppressive heat. Made entirely on the stove top, this is a fast Saturday morning recipe to stock the fridge with flat breads for a whole week.
Pita Bread Recipe
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
2 t yeast
3 (350 g) cups flour (I recommend 1/2 whole wheat)
2 t salt
1-2 t olive oil
Warm the water in a pan, constantly stirring with your finger. This will prevent the water from over heating. When the water is a comfortable temperature (not too hot) remove flame and add the 2 t yeast and combine well. Allow the yeast in the water to proof.
Meanwhile measure the flour and salt and mix together, then reserve 1/2 cup (approx. 60 g) in a separate bowl for later.
When the yeast has proofed add it and the 2 t olive oil to the flour and mix into a scrappy dough.
Spread the reserved flour on a board and turn out your dough.
Kneed for 5-10 minutes until a smooth elastic dough is formed.
Place the dough in a clean and lightly oiled bowl and turn to cover.
Cover with a towel and allow to double in side.
Here that only takes an hour (sometimes less) but in the North it could be 1.5-2 hours.
When the dough has doubled, heat a cast iron or flat griddle (comal) until very hot on the stove top. Divide the dough into 8-10 pieces (depending on desired pita size) I like mine a little smaller and usually make 10.
Experiment to find your preferred size.
On a floured surface start to roll the dough into circles, one at a time.
Leave each about 3-5 mm thick to insure a pocket forms.
Carefully place each rolled round on a hot cast iron.
Heath the first side for 30 seconds until the top starts to puff.
Turn the bread and cook for 2 minutes more until brown and fully cooked.
Remove from heat and wrap in a cloth napkin while finishing the others.
NOTES: If the pocket does form you are rolling to thin, didn’t let the dough proof enough or don’t have the pan hot enough. You can also try covering the bread for the first 30 seconds with a tall lid to retain moisture and help the bread puff. Always leave the bread uncovered for the 2 minute cooking time.
If the bread still will not poof, this works fine as a flat bread recipe too.
Keep practicing and you will get better.
Enjoy immediately or allow to cool completely and store covered in the fridge for up to 1 week.