You have all this great food, and you’re throwing a party. But there’s something missing. It’s bread. Fluffy, hollow pita bread, for stuffing and mopping and chewing.
strong white flour500g/1lb
Stir the yeast in a cup with 100ml(½cup) of warm water and a pinch of sugar, and set it aside until it foams. Mix the flour, salt and the rest of the sugar in a bowl, then pour in the yeast. Start mixing the dough, adding a little more warm water at a time, until you have a solid ball, as dry as it can be without falling apart.
Work the dough on a clean surface, as hard as you can for as long as you can, then add the oil and knead it in well. Keep the faith: your dough will eventually become elastic and smooth.
At that point you can either put it in a bowl in the fridge, covered with cling film, for baking the next day, or if you want pita bread today, leave it to stand at room temperature for about an hour.
Now is the time to turn your oven up really high.
Roll your dough into a sausage and cut it into 12pieces. Roll them tightly into balls and lay them on a lightly floured tray – they will rise, so set them well apart from each other. Give them anything from 15-30 minutes, depending on the warmth of the kitchen, while you put a heavy baking tray in the middle of the oven.
Roll out each ball on a floured surface, using your rolling pin in different directions to get them down to ¼-inch thick.
As fast as you can, whisk open the oven door and flick as many pitas as will fit onto the tray. Shut the door quickly – you want to keep the heat in.
They take two or three minutes to puff up and cook, no more. Don’t let them brown.
Take them out, put in the next batch, and stack the puffy pitas under a slightly damp cloth. Eat them as soon as you can – or let them cool and freeze them.