And no, that's not Pain In The A$$.. it's pita bread and it turned out really well!
John has been in some pain today, and feeling a little under the weather, so instead of doing some of the things we'd planned, I had time to bake while he vegetated on the couch. I decided to make these pita breads after reading about them on a Ravelry thread. The recipe is very easy and it's fun to watch the breads puff up as they did.
If you'd like to try to make your own pita bread, the recipe follows:
2 tsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup warm water
3 3/4 cup bread flour (or 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat and 2 3/4 cups bread flour)
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup water
Pour the warm water into a small bowl and sprinkle in the sugar. Do not stir. Add the yeast to the warm water, making sure each granule is moistened. Allow to sit for about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, olive oil and up to 3/4 cup water, enough to make a firm, but soft dough. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until smooth, about 15 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to grease the top, cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into eight pieces, form into balls, then roll each piece into an oval, about 9" long and 1/4" thick.
Cover with a towel and allow to sit until slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425F; when oven is hot, preheat the baking pans for 5 minutes. Dust the pans with flour, then place the dough ovals on hot pans and bake for about 10 minutes, until puffy (don't let them crisp). Remove from the oven and wrap in a clean cloth to keep from drying out. Store in a plastic bag.
I still had some whole wheat bread flour in the pantry, so I made the whole wheat version. I don't normally have bread flour in the house; use whatever all purpose flour you have (I used unbleached white all purpose flour; it works just fine)
I had to use closer to 1 cup of water to get the dough to the right consistency and didn't have to knead as long as the recipe calls for. If you've baked bread before, you'll know when it's ready.
Instead of allowing the rolled out ovals to rise on the counter, I put them on parchment paper cut to the size of my baking sheets, making it easier to transfer them to the baking sheet; I put three to a sheet.
I would recommend baking them in the lower half of the oven. I tried baking two sheets at a time, but the pitas on the upper rack didn't rise as well as those on the lower rack.