Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grilled Pita Bread

The summer that I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Jerusalem, I discovered a new love: fresh pita bread. This was not the kind you buy at Safeway, which is dry, thin, and usually feels like diet food. This was freshly baked, fluffy, and divine. Any time we walked into the old city from our campus on Mount Scopus (just across the Kidron Valley from the old city), we'd be sure to buy a stack of fresh pita. It was delicious on its own, swiped through a dish of hummus, stuffed with falafel, roasted lamb, or fresh nectarines and honey. We were always ecstatic when dinner at the Center included pita and greedily took as much as we could. (It's a good thing we did so much walking there.)

I recently stumbled across a recipe I had for making pita bread. I have not really enjoyed American pita in the 14 years since I experienced the real thing. I vaguely remembered making it once, and promptly decided that it was time to try it again. I already had Tandoori Chicken on my menu for last night and even though it meant a little Indian-Middle Eastern fusion (which doesn't bother me in the least), it sounded like the perfect night for pita.

This recipe calls for baking it in the oven, but with my newly acquired skills for pizza grilling (thanks, Prudy, for taking away my fear and helping me find another food I adore), I knew I could grill these babies up in a snap with fluffy, just-like-the-old-city results. I think they are much better this way, so don't use the oven unless there is a monsoon outside.

Pita Bread

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 T. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tsp. yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup ROOM TEMP. water.
  • 2 T. melted butter
Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a stand mixer. Add water and melted butter and knead with dough hook for 10 minutes. Put in a lubed up bowl and allow to raise for an hour to an hour and a half.

On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 8 equal portions. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Roll out into disks that will be between 6 and 8" in diameter. Get your grill ready (scrape it clean and spray it before you fire it up.) Heat it to 400 or 450 degrees. Gently lift as many disks as will comfortably fit (I did four at a time) onto the grill. Put the lid down and wait about 2 minutes. Check to see if they are light to medium brown with grill marks. If they are, flip them over with some tongs. If not, let them cook a bit longer. Put the lid back down and allow them to brown on both sides. Remove from grill and put on your next batch.

Or, if you absolutely must use the oven, get you baking stone or cookie sheet hot in a 450 oven. Spray the stone down with water, then put the disks on it and bake them for about 3 1/2 minutes each.


Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful....sigh!


scrap chair potato said...

Yummy! Thanks for sharing.
By the way...we made the Zebra Brownies you posted a while ago. They were so delicious. They were gone much too quickly.

Prudy said...

Oh, that sounds superlatively fabulous, especially with tandoori chicken. I must go update my work outs before I forget. I come over and enjoy your posts and forget everything in the world.

Tyler said...

Looks awesome. Would love to find a way to get there for thanksgiving again, we'll for how I really feel about Sarah Palin

Just kidding

Angela said...

I love Israel- I have been there twice and love the center at BYU. I loved seeing it in your post- it brings back good memories. I was not a student there but have had very good experiences there. I will have to try these recipes- looks yummy!

Ashley said...

ooh.. i had a very tasty grilled pita sandwich with olive-oil tossed veggies and feta cheese in it a while back. maybe now i will have to recreate it. or try anyway.

Christine said...

I just got some grilled mediterranian flat bread with feta and garlic, only 170 calories for a very large piece- from Costco yesterday- it was FAB!- this is for those of you out there who don't have three extra hours in your schedule.

Smith Family said...

Yumm! That makes me miss Israel! I will have to give your recipe a try. Thanks!

Allison said...

I LOVED the pita in Isreal! I tried a different recipe, but they turned out like pita chips. A complete disaster.

I'll try your recipe before I give up. :)