bread is a staple food in Israeli. You get it with almost
every meal and it can be used to make a "lafa" (a sandwich)
or for a "niguv," for dipping. While pita comes in many
shapes and sizes in Israel, the standard pita is thicker
than what you find here in the US. I prefer it that way,
but you can roll out the dough however you like in this
recipe. See the oven tips for more informain about
getting an authentic texture!
First, mix the yeast in with the
warm water and sugar. Let it stand for 5–10 minutes . In
a large bowl mix the flour and salt. Add the yeast
mixture when it starts to foam and mix well. The dough
will be a little sticky and you should knead it until smooth
and elastic, about 10 minutes. Remove to a warm place to
rise for one hour, or until it doubles in size.
Punch down the dough and knead it
again for a couple of minutes. On a floured work surface,
roll the dough into a cylinder shape and divide into about
10 small balls. Roll out each ball into a disc shape. I
like mine pretty thick, but this dough is very adaptable
and can be stretched out quite thin if you prefer it. Cover
and let rise again for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 500ºF. To
bake, place the pitas flat on a hot pizza stone or baking
pan on the bottom rack. It takes about 5–6 minutes in my oven,
but it might be different in yours. The key is to check
on it and pull it out just as the corners turn brown
(remember, pita bread is mostly white). Pull it out and
eat it hot with my hummus or falafel
When baking bread, it's often all about the oven! This recipe
is no exception. In Israel pita is baked in a huge clay
oven, often wood-fired or with something akin to a flame-thrower.
The point is that it's about 1000ºF. You won't achieve this in
your home oven, but you can approximate as best you can by
baking at 500ºF and cooking directly on a pizza stone placed on
the lowest rack of your oven.