Although pita bread is easy enough to buy, nothing beats the flavor of homemade pita bread, especially if you cook it on a charcoal grill. You only need 6 ingredients for this recipe and it is easy enough to prepare, although the dough does have to be left alone to rise several times, so begin this recipe well ahead of your meal. Pita bread is lovely served warm with any kind of barbequed food. Perhaps you would like to serve some dipping sauces too like tzatziki or hummus. Pita bread is great with those. These pita breads can be torn up and dipped in your sauce, or used to mop up the juices on your plate.
Use whatever type of flour you like in this recipe. Many people like to use a mixture of white and whole wheat flour for a hearty flavor, but if you prefer to use all white or all wheat then go for it. The recipe and preparation will be the same. The sugar is optional too, so feel free to omit it if you do not want to add any.
Pita bread is cooked at a very high temperature which makes it fill with steam and puff up. When it deflates again that is when the ‘pocket’ inside is formed. Pita bread has been popular in the West for the past 40 or so years, and it is often used as a pocket to hold the filling. Because this recipe is suited to a very high temperature, that makes it perfect for cooking on the barbeque.
Not only will you get the smoky aroma and attractive grill-marks but you will also get great results because pita bread needs to be exposed to plenty of heat to cook. Pizza is the same way, which is why cooking a pizza on the barbeque is also a great idea. In fact, if you like, you can top the pita bread with pizza sauce and cooked toppings after flipping it over, then you will have mini pizzas.
If you are looking for unusual side dishes for your next barbeque, then forget the potato salad and coleslaw and instead make these pita breads. They are an unusual idea and you can make various cold side dishes too and serve it all together buffet-style. You do not need to know anything about making bread to make this recipe either. Just follow the steps and ensure you put the dough somewhere warm when it is supposed to be ‘resting’ to encourage it to inflate.
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3⅓ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1¼ cups warm water
- Put the yeast and sugar in a small bowl and add ¼ cup of warm water.
- Stir until the yeast and sugar are dissolved.
- Cover the bowl and put it somewhere warm for 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble.
- Combine the flour and salt.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil to this mixture.
- Blend with a dough hook or with your fingers.
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture.
- Add the warm water slowly, mixing all the time, until the dough is sticky and forms a ball.
- Knead the dough on a floured board for 3 minutes, then put the bowl upside down over it and leave it for 15 minutes.
- Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth.
- Add more flour if needed.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of oil in the bowl, then swirl it around.
- Add the dough and roll to coat it in oil.
- Cover the bowl and put it somewhere warm for the dough to rise.
- Drop the dough on a cutting board and push down on it to press out the gases.
- Flatten it into a round then knead it again and let it rise for another hour or until doubled in volume.
- Roll it into a sausage shape then cut it into 10 pieces and roll each into a ball.
- Cover with a damp towel and leave to rise for 45 minutes on a floured board.
- Arrange coals on one side of the grill and light them.
- Roll each dough piece into a flat round then cover them with a dry towel and let them rest for 15 minutes.
- Slide them on to the part of the grill which is not lit, either on a cookie sheet or directly on to the grate if you like grill-marks.
- Flip them after a couple of minutes.
- You will see when they are cooked, and can serve them warm or cold, or freeze them.
Recipes for pita bread require a high heat, higher in fact than most home ovens can go, which is why using a charcoal grill instead is a wonderful idea. You can see how tasty these small pita breads look in the picture. Prick holes in the pita bread if you want a flatbread but do not prick holes if you want the pita breads to form pockets, because pricked ones will not puff up full of steam and make pockets. It depends whether you plan to fill them or to tear them up and eat them Greek-style with some tasty dipping sauces.
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