Homemade Stove-top Pita

Is it worth making pita at home? Not if you have the best kubz available at the corner shop! This recipe is for those who don't have access to a Pitas or for those who like to know what goes into the food that they serve for their family. And of course for those who don't have access to an oven. I have shared a detailed recipe on how to make pitas with pockets on stove-top.

I so want to be current in blogging my recipes. Like I make something today and I want to be able to put it up here before I try something new. But something just wears me off when I think of having to put up a post and then there is a huuuuuge backlog! - I am not used to it. Keeping backlogs. Postponing. Even though I am my own boss now, this behaviour is so not me. It is like I am having a battle with myself trying to overcome the "whatever" is stopping me from writing here.

Can you believe I have not started on things that I always have been wanting to do!- new books that are waiting for me, crochet projects lined up which I never began, a lot of new food items that I picked up and have not even looked out for a recipe, the wardrobe is falling apart, a huge pile of clothes waiting to be pressed! :-( I think a solution to all this will be to turn off the WiFi!

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads

Anyways, let me not take away the limelight from the recipe of an Arabic bread called pita! After I shared the success on Instagram, I tried it once again to be double sure of the recipe and used those pitas to make falafel wraps! Yeah, I shared that too on Instagram! I know you must be thinking how many more of pita recipes does the world need? right? but what to do every kitchen is an individual! was that convincing? (sheepish smile)

Of course, the first time I heard of Pita was after I came to Yanbu! I have had it from three different places in Yanbu and I personally like only the one served at Ostorah - the Lebanese Restaurant. I would love to get hold of their recipe :-P Strangely no one calls it Pita here! All the bread are labelled as Kubz both in supermarket bakeries and in the restaurant. Why?

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads

A couple of weeks ago I got my eyes on a tong! not a thong, but yeah that too would have been a good choice... :-)  Tong is one must have utensil for every Indian kitchen. I learnt to use it while in Bangalore and I was so amazed making phulkas that I got one for my mom and umma! :-P which only I use when I am there! :-D So yeah, you need tong to make anything on the direct flame. And thanks to it, I was able to get the full puffed pitas!

If you are used to making phulkas, then this will be a breeze. I have tried to give detailed instruction with notes and tips. As the weather is not the same everywhere, the timing for the rise of the dough might differ. It will help if you can locate an area in your house that is dry and undisturbed. Personally, I cling wrap the bowl, then put the bowl into a plastic cover, tie the handles and keep it on top of my fridge.

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads
This was the first successful attempt!

This recipe uses instant yeast and so can be added directly with the dry ingredients but do use lukewarm water to knead. Most of the recipes suggest to roll the pita 1/4 inch thick and I have mentioned the same, however, mine are thinner as we prefer that way. Okay, I think I have said enough... oh yeah, the post seems long but read it just once and you will get the idea. Your welcome! :-)

Yields: Makes 10 medium 5 inches or 12 mini 3 inches Pita bread

Homemade Stove-top Pita 

INGREDIENTS:

1 and 1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt (or as per taste)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Up to 1 cup lukewarm water (you will not need all of 1 cup)
Flour to dust and knead
Olive oil to coat the bowl and dough

METHOD:

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads

Prepare the dough
  1. Add all the dry ingredients into a wide bowl and give it a thorough mix. 
  2. Add olive oil and water little by little in two to three stages and bring the flour mix together to form a dough. The dough for pita is soft and not too sticky. 
  3. Sprinkle some flour if it gets too sticky and then knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes to get the desired texture. 
Prepare for the rise
  1. Coat the bottom and sides of a bowl with some olive oil. (remember the dough will double in size so choose a bowl accordingly), 
  2. Place the dough in the bowl and coat the dough with olive oil. 
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film or plate
  4. Keep it away from the counter undisturbed for 2 to 3 hours or until doubled in size 
Prepare the dough balls
  1. Deflate (push out the air) the risen dough. 
  2. Dust the work area with some flour
  3. Divide the dough into equal pieces 
  4. Keep a space gap between each dough ball as it would rise again
  5. Cover all the dough balls with a kitchen towel for 10 to 20 minutes. 
Here on the dough should be treated gently. 

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads

Shape the Pitas
  1. Use a rolling pin to roll one of the pieces into a circle (3 to 4 inches) and about a quarter inch thick. 
  2. Avoid flipping the sides while rolling so dust sparingly underside and over if it gets sticky.
  3. Keep the rolled-out pitas aside and cover it with a newspaper or cloth. 
  4. Remember to keep your tawa/pan on low flame so it can be ready by the time you are done with rolling. 
  5. Roll the rest of the dough balls and keep them along with others under the cloth or newspaper. You can start making one by one too as you roll, but ensure that each rolled-out pita dough has rested for at least 5 minutes. 


Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads

Bake Pitas 
  1. Lay a rolled-out pita on the hot tawa/skillet on a medium flame and bake for 20 seconds or until you see bubbles starting to form. 
  2. Use a tong to Flip (1) the pita and cook for a few seconds 
  3. Flip (2) again and grab the pita with the tong and use the left hand to take off the tawa and keep the pita on the flame Burn (3). (Same side as from tawa should be on the direct flame) 
  4. Wait until the pita puffs up which will not take more than 3 to 4 seconds and then use the tong to Flip (4) again and roast the other side too. 
  5. Now, you can flip a couple more times aiming at the areas that need to be cooked. Remove from flame and keep aside. 
  6. Repeat with the rest of the dough
  7. Keep the Pitas wrapped in a bread basket

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads
Fresh out of the stove

Just remember the mantra - - You have to go FLIP - FLIP - BURN - FLIP! 

MUST READ  TIPS
  • As flour can be different everywhere the water absorption may be different too. So don't add all of the water at once. 
  • Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes with all your might - do not skip this step 
  • Do not skip coating the bowl with olive oil as once the dough rises it will help to release it without wastage. 
  • After deflating, avoid working too much on the dough like twisting or pinching-in, which will cause wrinkle lines that will show up when you roll
  • Roll outward from the centre and not back and forth like we do for chapatis. 
  • Resting the rolled-out pita for at least 5 to 6 minutes before it hits the tawa is a mandate
  • If you are not confident to make the pita bread on direct flame, you can continue to cook on the tawa but this way, not every pita will puff up. Puffing up of pita is just for the pockets, the taste is same either ways. 
  • Use only metal tongs that are heat resistant!

Home-made Stove-top Pita Breads

A quick guide on how to make pita wraps: I really wanted to make a separate post but now that I am here... let me! LOL!

I found two ways of making wraps. One cut the pita bread into two equal halves and do the filling in each and the second, tear open from the side, like how you open a ziplock bag. Tear half way only and then do the desired filling. As I made mini pita this time, I used the latter method. If you make bigger pita bread then go for the first method so you get two out of each pita. 

You can stuff anything and treat this just like sandwich bread and get creative. There are loads of idea floating on the internet. Last time I made mini pita bread because I like small bite size food. Here I have spread labneh all over inside of the pita, then placed a crushed falafel, then some chopped onions, capsicum, hot pepper, capers and topped it with some more labneh or cream cheese. Closed and relished it. I made these on Thursday evening, so it was snack cum dinner! 

The best way would be to bring all to the table and assemble and eat then and there. This way you can save the leftover Pitas for laters.  

and remember the formula .. Flip, Flip, Burn, and Flip :-) Phew... 

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