Last month I had the opportunity to visit beautiful Morocco.
Yes, it was just at Epcot. Yes, I’m sure it smelled differently. And yes, about 2/3 of the tourists were wearing Mickey Mouse t-shirts.
But the important part was that we had some amazing food. Lamb. Beef. Chicken. Cous cous. and Pita–not to be confused with my second-favorite district 12 victor.
I’d never made pita bread before (actually referred to as Batbout in Morocco) but it’s very simple to make. Like any other rising bread, you mix the yeast with warm water and let it sit. Then add the flour. Allow it to rise. And bake. The biggest difference is that it bakes at a very high temperature for a very short amount of time. If sealed immediately, the pita can be kept in an air-tight container for one week, or in the freezer for one month.
Prep time: 20 minutes; Active time: 3.5 hours — Yields 8 pita bread
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 cups all purpose flour (unbleached)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water appears frothy.
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water in depression.
Slowly add 1 cup of warm water, and stir with wooden spoon until elastic. Place dough on floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is no longer sticky, but is smooth and elastic, it has been successfully kneaded.
Coat large bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl. Make sure dough is coated in the oil. Allow to sit in a warm place for 3 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Once doubled, preheat oven to 500 degrees F, making sure the rack is at the very bottom of the oven. Preheat the baking sheet (ungreased) with the oven.
Cut doubled dough in half. Cut each half in half, and in half once more, until there are 8 equal parts. Let sit uncovered for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a flat disk. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes more.
Remove each pita with a spatula or tongs from the baking sheet and add additional pitas for baking. I baked two at a time. Immediately place in storage bags, once slightly cooled. Enjoy with hummus, tabouli, or meat! Keeps one week in an air-tight container.