Fresh Pita


From the story: Exploring Culture and Conversion Through Food by Anisa Abeytia

2–3 cups whole wheat, spelt, or other wholegrain flour
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast or one packet
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Place the yeast and the sugar into a bowl. The sugar can be substituted with honey or molasses. Do not use a sugar substitute. The water needs to be warm to touch, but not uncomfortable. Remember yeast is a living organism and likes things warm and sweet, not hot. Add the water and leave the yeast stand until it bubbles, about 15 minutes. Once it bubbles, add one cup flour. Stir with a wooden spoon, then add salt.

At this point stirring this soupy mixture establishes the spongy matrix of the bread. Add olive oil and stir. Gradually add in enough flour to make a dough. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead and add flour until you have a round ball that is not too stiff or moist and springs back when pushed. Make 1-inch balls and place them on a clean board and dust with flour. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise until they double in size. You can place them on the stovetop. At this point turn on the oven to 400–500 degrees. The oven needs to be this hot to simulate the traditional ovens used to make pita. Once the balls rise, roll them out to about ¼-inch thickness. (The thickness is important if you want to be sure that the pocket forms.) Place a piece of parchment in the oven and place the pita on it. They are done when they puff up. Remove immediately.