Can anyone here raise their hands if they don’t like the smell of fresh baked bread? No One? That’s what I thought. There were plenty of times when we were out of touch with civilization for weeks and our bread supply would run out. Once in a while you would stumble upon a village where one of the locals would bake bread for the yachties. This was always a treat and a way to save on propane. But, often times, on long passages, with nothing better to do or when we just plain ran out, I would start to bake bread. It never once failed to put a smile on my gangs face. I always had to double my recipes since the first batch constantly got eaten right out of the oven. The following recipe was our favorite. It’s simple, it’s easy and YUMMY!
Pita pockets, pita pizza, pita chips, ECT….
4 cups White flour (whole wheat optional 50/50 or less)
2 t. Salt
1½ cups Water
1 t. Yeast
2 Tb. Olive oil
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. I typically add on cup whole wheat and 3 cups white flour but keep in mind the more whole wheat you add the denser they will become. Add yeast to water and dissolve then add oil. Gradually incorporate the liquid into the flour and mix, and then knead to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough should not have the ripped look to it. Place in a large clean bowl, slightly oiled and cover. Let rise in a warm location for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough to release all the air on a lightly floured surface and cut into sections. This will depend on how big you want your pitas. A 2/2 inch square will give an average store bought pita. Roll into balls and set aside for 5 minutes to rest, covered.
Roll out each ball to make an oval or circle at about ¼ inch in thickness and place on cookie sheet, not touching. Cover and let rest (10 minutes). You can continue to roll out the remaining pita and set aside, covered, until ready to cook.
Cook the pitas for 4 to 6 minutes or until puffed up. They do not need to brown unless you want them slightly crispy. If your pitas do not puff up, your oven is not hot enough. Usually, on the boat, my second batch puffed up better than the first. By far, you will use less time in the oven making pitas than baking a loaf of bread. Store in an air tight container or plastic bag once cooled. Freeze if you have space or luxury. Pitas will collapse once cooled.
The pitas that didn’t puff up are the best to cut up for dipping or pizzas. I would cut up some pitas and add seasonings, olive oil and salt and cook till crispy and make pita chips. These are always a hit when you have guest on board. I could go on and on about what you can do with these pitas but I will save if for another posting. Enjoy! Feel free to email me or comment if you make them. I would love your feedback.