Bread is not my forte. I am scared of things that require proofing yeast and waiting for dough to double in size. Because inevitably the yeast does not proof, and the dough does not double. I know all the tricks to avoid such problems. Make sure your yeast is active and not expired. Make sure your water is between 110° and 115°F. Make sure you let the dough rise in a relatively warm space. Despite my efforts, I have failed more than once in the bread department and this makes attempting yet another bread both frightening and daunting.
With my past experiences, why would I subject myself to more bread baking? Because grilled pita bread sounded way too delicious to pass up. I am so very glad that I decided to make these. Every other part of the meal was incredibly tasty, but these were my favorite part. This may have been because I was a successful bread baker for one night, or they might have been that good. The exterior is so crunchy and delicious. The pita are pretty thick, so the interior is soft and fluffy. These were a great complement to our dinner of grilled Thai chicken and roasted asparagus. Of course this would be a perfect partner to a Greek meal of souvlaki and tabbouleh.
The dough is easy to put together in the stand mixer and rose well after the first hour. It was a snap to roll out the individual pitas and let them rise for another 45 minutes. I was a bit scared about them sticking to the grill, but the olive oil brushed onto the pitas helped with the sticking and hepled to achieve a nice crisp crust. They only about 3 minutes on the first side and 2-3 on the other. Check them so they don’t burn. They are tastiest fresh from the grill, but can be reheated in a 350°F oven for a few minutes.
Grilled Pita Bread
Courtesy of Fine Cooking (slightly adapted)
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
- 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. olive oil; more for the bowl and for brushing pitas
- In a small bowl, mix the honey with 1/2 cup lukewarm water and stir in the yeast. Let sit until the yeast has started to foam, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Put both flours and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer running on low speed, mix in the olive oil until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup lukewarm water and mix until fully incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes more. Raise the speed to medium and knead the dough until it comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball that is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky, 4 to 5 minutes. If the dough seems too wet, add more all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. at a time. Raise the speed to medium high and continue to knead for 5 minutes. Oil a medium bowl, transfer the dough to the bowl, and roll to coat it with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead two or three times to remove any air bubbles. Form into a log and divide it evenly into 10 pieces. Form each piece into a ball and then roll into disks about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter. Lightly oil two rimmed baking sheets. Put the disks on the baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until just doubled in thickness, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Heat a gas grill to medium high heat, and oil the grates. Brush the pitas lightly with olive oil, and lay the pitas, oil side down on the grill. Cook the pitas in batches on the grill until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Brush with oil, then flip and continue cooking until lightly golden on the bottom and the pitas are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack. If stuffing, cut the pitas in half and carefully separate the layers with a fork.