Joel made pita once before, but I've never done it. So, a few weeks ago, when I was off for spring break, I made them. I decided I was going to make pita bread as the base for chicken gyros. I bookmarked this recipe from Delish last March, so I figured it was about time to use it. Even though these took about 2 1/2 hours to make, they were worth it. A quick note: I tried cooking my first 2 pitas directly on the oven rack, as stated in the original recipe. I did not have much success with that, as the pita kept ripping. Instead, for the remaining pitas, I baked them on a pizza stone, which made them hold together much better!
2 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast (1 package)
1 tablespoon Honey
1 1/4 cups Warm Water
1 1/2 cups Bread Flour, plus additional for kneading
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheets
In a large bowl, combine yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water. Stir and let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy. While the yeast mixture stands, stir the flours together in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup of the flour mixture into the yeast mixture until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature for 45 minutes, or until doubled in bulk and bubbly. Stir in the oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup of warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour until a dough forms. Knead the dough on a floured surface, working in just enough additional flour to keep the dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough and cut into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 inch round on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Repeat with remaining 7 pieces. Arrange each round on a baking sheet and loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees. Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto the oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake an additional minute. Cool pitas on a cooling rack for 2 minutes. Stack the pitas and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm. Repeat with remaining pitas and serve warm.
**Pitas can be baked 1 week ahead and cooled completely, then frozen wrapped well in foil and sealed in a plastic bag. Thaw before reheating, wrapped in foil, for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.