Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pita Pockets from scratch!

    We have all heard the news! How our store bought, over processed foods are making us sick and causing an obesity epidemic. How scary! When I look around the dinner table each night at my family I yearn to provide the best for them.

    Processed foods are convenient, quick and over purchased. It is overwhelming to imagine eradicating every processed food in the pantry! In fact it was so overwhelming to me that I could not fathom where one would even begin! Many of the foods we create in our own kitchens become "processed" but at home we do not possess many of the harmful components big brands are adding to our foods. 

    I began to realize that little by little, step by step... we are very capable of learning new ways to provide nutrition for our families. With a little bit of time and effort, which is hard to come by at times... we can teach ourselves to be less dependent on convenience foods. 

    In an attempt to cut down on the lunch meats my family consumes I had chicken on the stove ready to be used for chicken sandwiches. Then my mind wandered to the bread. Grabbing the pita bread out of the fridge I glanced at the nutrition information...Yuck! After a little research and a few experiments the following recipe delivered pita bread gold! So easy! So basic! Great for a family on a budget!

1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
2-3 cups AP flour (you could also use wheat)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons olive oil. Plus a little more for coating a mixing bowl

Mix the warm water and yeast in a medium size mixing bowl. Allow the mixture to set until the yeast is nice and foamy. About 10 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, salt and olive oil and mix until combined. Turn dough out unto a lightly floured surface, adding flour to hands and surface as needed. Knead dough for 5-7 minutes. Until it is soft and stretchy. Form a ball and let the dough rest as you rinse out the mixing bowl and dry thoroughly. Coat the bowl in a little bit of olive oil and add the dough turning to make sure the dough is coated. Allow the dough to rise in a warm area covered until it is doubled in size.

Once dough is doubled, punch down. Pre heat oven to 450 and place a baking stone on middle rack, you may also use an inverted baking sheet. Divide the dough into 6-8 even pieces and set aside under a dish towel. Take your first piece and roll it out on a floured surface. Roll until it is about a quarter inch thick. Place it on the warm baking stone for about 4 minutes. (I only baked one at a time but feel free to place as many as will fit on your stone.) While one is cooking you can prepare the next. You will notice the pita has puffed. That means it is ready! The bread is meant to be light in color. Do not cook until golden, or you will have a crunchy flatbread! While the pita is still warm slice in half and use a small paring knife to gently separate and open the pocket. Store in an airtight container until ready for use!

It was an instant hit! Soft and chewy! Warm and salty! Whip up your favorite salad and feel good about knowing what your family is eating! Enjoy!

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