Greek flavors are a favorite in the Crumbs house. There isn’t a meal plan made without at least one night dedicated to the fresh Mediterranean tang. If it were up to my husband, he’d combine this pita bread recipe with couscous every night of the week for dinner.
Oh wait, he already did!
I’m not going to lie – I like the couscous too. Actually, the whole night is a winner in my book. It takes very little effort on my part and the end result is a very delicious meal. From start to finish, it’s maybe 30 minutes of active time in the kitchen:
- Tzatziki can be made a day (or three) in advance.
- Thaw garbanzo beans and the blender does the hummus (which can also be made ahead of time).
- Marinade chicken in greek dressing and bake (oven does the work).
- Slice fresh carrots and celery for dipping (some work here, but I can maximize the time and prep veggies for later in the week while I’m at it).
- Roughly chop sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives while the couscous cooks (because it literally takes 5 minutes – seriously).
- Steam a veggie or two (or skip if there’s a already in the fridge).
The only thing left is a pita bread recipe. Fresh out of the oven, nothing beats homemade bread. Pitas included!
The 22 Days to a Fresh Start challenge included making your own bread and this recipe is another that is excellent for beginner bread-makers. Even those who are direction-challenged will find this recipe to be a cinch!
- Six simple ingredients.
- No water to heat.
- One rise.
- No shaping technique required (oval pitas taste just as good as round ones 😉 ).
- A super quick bake and you’re done!
The entire pita bread recipe making process takes 1 1/2 – 2 hours. It adds a little bit more to the time required to make dinner, but most of that time is in the rise (1 – 1/2 hours) so you’re definitely not stuck in the kitchen the whole time. If you start this at 4pm and then come back at 5pm to start everything else, you’ll be baking pita’s by 5:30pm and eating by 6. Of course if you know you won’t have time during the week, pita bread can be made few days ahead of time. Make a batch Sunday afternoon and plan your Greek night during the first half of the week.
You can reduce even more time spent in the kitchen by skipping the bread this week and making a double batch of pitas instead. Serve peanut butter banana roll-ups for lunch instead of sandwiches, or wrap up your favorite chicken salad for delicious a variation on sandwich night.
There are two variations of the recipe. The first uses all white flour and the second gives adaptations for wheat flour. Wheat flour does have more nutrition, but homemade bread is always better than store-bought.
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1½ tbsp sugar (or honey)
- 1½ tsp salt
- 4 tsp yeast
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1¼ cups water, room-temperature
- In either a stand-mixer or a large bowl, combine all ingredients and knead on low-medium until the dough is smooth, soft and elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Add flour or water as needed for the dough to be tacky but not sticky.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turn it over to coat and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, 1 - ½ hours.
- Punch the dough down and divide into 8 pieces, rolling each piece into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest for 20 minutes while pre-heating the oven to 450°F.
- Roll each ball into a circle approximately 8" in diameter and ⅛" thick and place the round onto either a baking stone or an inverted baking sheet. Mist the stone or baking sheet with water (I get my hand wet and flick the water on there) and wait 30 seconds. Place as many rounds as you can on the stone or baking sheet and bake for about 3 minutes for the dough to puff into a balloon (which may or may not happen, but it really neat to see if it does!). Wait 30 seconds and remove each bread to cool on a rack.
White Whole Wheat Option:
Use white whole wheat flour in place of all the bread flour and replace ¼ cup water with ¼ room temperature milk.
Red Whole Wheat Option:
Replace 2 cups of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. You may replace all of the bread flour with whole wheat flour and substitute ½ cup water with ½ cup milk, but the pitas may not inflate or turn out as fluffy.