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Enhanced Traditional Pita Bread with Optional Seasonings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for kneading)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (110°F/45°C)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon of your chosen seasoning (optional: Royals Garden, French Countryside, Herbs de Provence, Eastern Mediterranean, or Garden Delight)

Instructions:

  1. Activate the Yeast:

  • In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar (or honey), and active dry yeast. Stir gently to dissolve. Let the mixture sit for about 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes frothy and bubbles form on the surface.

  1. Mix the Dough:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and your chosen seasoning (if using). Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

  1. Knead the Dough:

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep it from sticking. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

  1. First Rise:

  • Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, turning it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

  1. Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). If you have a baking stone, place it on the middle rack of the oven to heat up. If not, a baking sheet will work as well.

  1. Shape the Pitas:

  • Punch down the dough to release the air. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls with a damp cloth and let them rest for about 10 minutes.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough ball into a circle about 1/4 inch thick.

  1. Bake the Pitas:

  • Carefully place the rolled-out dough circles onto the hot baking stone or baking sheet. Bake for about 3-4 minutes, or until the pitas puff up and are lightly browned.

  • Using a spatula or tongs, flip the pitas and bake for another 1-2 minutes on the other side.

  1. Cool and Serve:

  • Remove the pitas from the oven and cover them with a clean kitchen towel to keep them soft. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.

Tips for Perfect Pita Bread:

  • Baking Stone: Using a baking stone helps achieve a high temperature and even baking, which is essential for getting the pitas to puff up.

  • Heat: Make sure the oven and baking stone are fully preheated to ensure the pitas puff up correctly.


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