Pitta Bread

Method

Pitta breads are the ideal bread for light meals and snacks as you can open them up and fill them with almost anything. Unlike most bread doughs which are allowed to rise before shaping, pitta breads are shaped and then left to rise. When baked, they rise further to produce a bread with a pocket.

To make 12, you will need ½ teaspoon caster sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 750-875 g (1½—1¾lb) strong white flour, 1 sachet easy-blend yeast and 475 ml (16 fl oz) warm water. If you want a nuttier tasting bread use one third wholemeal flour to two-thirds strong white flour.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, 750 g (1½lb) of the four and the easy-blend yeast. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the water and mix to a smooth dough. Using your hands, slowly work in the remaining flour as necessary, kneading the dough along the sides of the bowl, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

  2. Knead for at least 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball, then cover with a damp tea towel. Working with 1 ball at a time, roll out each one to an oval about 23cm (9in) long. Flip the ovals over and lightly roll out any creases on the second side.

  3. As each pitta is rolled put it on a lightly floured surface and cover with the damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for 30—45 minutes. Place 2 pittas at a time on a preheated ungreased baking sheet and cook at 240°C, 475°F, Gas Mark 9 on the bottom shelf for about 3½ minutes until the pittas are puffed and browned on the base.

  4. When cooked, immediately wrap the pittas in a tea towel until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a wire rack. Bake the remaining pittas, two at a time. Serve warm or when cool, store in plastic bags, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

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