Make it yourself! It’s insanely easy. You just need some flour, water and fast-acting yeast. I used to be afraid of yeast (eww, right?!) and rising doughs in general but not anymore. A brilliant recipe for homemade pita from The Kitchn blog helped me get over my fear. I mean you literally just mix warm water, yeast and flour together, let it rest for 40 minutes, roll it out and fry in a bit of oil. BOOM. Delicious, warm pita ready for dipping into things or wrapping around things. No fancy equipment needed…just a bowl and a cast iron skillet (I bet you could also use a normal frying pan).
You can be one of those looser housewives and use a rolling pin, or just use an empty wine bottle with the label removed. I bet you have one of those lying around 😉
Fresh Homemade Pita
Adopted from The Kitchn
Makes about 8 small pitas
You will need:
1 cup warm water from the tap
2 teaspoons Fleishmann’s Active Dry Yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or use another 1/2 all purpose- I think the hint of whole wheat was a nice touch)
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil + more for frying
1. Mix the water and yeast together in a large bowl and stir gently with a spoon for 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, salt, 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms, about 2 minutes.
2. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of extra flour on a wooden work surface or clean counter top. Coat your hands in flour and begin to knead the dough by pressing it out, folding it over, turning it around and so on. You should knead for about 5 minutes and reapply flour to your hands and work surface as needed but don’t over do it.
3. Wash out the bowl and coat it with a bit of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and move it around until it’s coated in olive oil. Cover it with a dishtowel and set it somewhere warm (like the windowsill in the sun: how bucolic) to rise. Allow it to rise for a full hour, undisturbed. It should almost double in size! Science!
4. After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into smaller pieces about the size of a golf ball. Roll each ball into an almost perfect sphere and then roll out with your rolling pin (or wine bottle) so the dough disks are about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick. It’s best to roll one out at a time and start the cooking process in step 5.
5. Prepare your pita frying stations. Heat a splash of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat and prepare a plate or basket lined with a napkin. Once the oil is shimmering (about 2 minutes) carefully add a dough disk and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You should start to see bubbles, then flip with a rubber spatula and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side. You should see some burn marks and feel free to press down on the pita to force bubbles. Remove the pita to a plate, work quickly to fry the rest and then serve immediately with humus.
Adapted from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook
You will need:
1 1/4 cups dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup tahini paste
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
5 Tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon pine nuts
pinch of paprika
1. Cover the chickpeas with lots of water in a large bowl and let them sit overnight or for at least 8 hours.
2. Drain chickpeas and add to a medium sauce pan with the baking soda. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat to a simmer. You will see clouds of gross chickpea foam, skim this off with a wooden spoon and discard. Simmer for 40 minutes then drain and set aside.
3. Combine the cooked chickpeas and tahini in the bowl of a food processor and blend for 20 seconds. Add the lemon juice, garlic, a pinch of salt and blend further. With the motor running (if you can manage it), add the ice cold water. Taste and add more salt as needed.
4. Garnish with chopped parsley and paprika. Optional: toast pine nuts in a non-stick skillet for 1 minute over high heat.