Today I attempted the making of Pita for the first time ever. My mom is a master of all things bread-related, and I've watched her make pita for several years now, and it always comes out beautifully. Now, a few of my pitas puffed up beautifully, and all of them puffed up a little, but they weren't quite perfect. Because my pita was only marginally perfect, as opposed to perfect (ha!), I think I've learned a few things that are vital to the pita making process.
First, bake the pita on dark-colored pans. I have all light-colored pans except one, and the only pita that really worked was the pita I baked on the darker pan.
Second, make sure you're working with a good oven. I know that my oven here in my apartment at school doesn't get up to temperature very well and probably has poor heat distribution- making it harder for the pitas to puff up and do their work!
Third, make sure you bake the pita for long enough. If you think your oven is a little low, add a minute or two onto each step of the baking process.
Making pita is really easy, and I'm saying that for a first timer! But take these tips into account and I think you'll be set to win on this one.
First, this is the sponge, before rising. I forgot to take a picture after it rose, but it was about 3 times this size, with big bubbles.
Here are the 8 dough balls, before resting.
And here are the pita rolled out and ready for the oven (notice how light my baking sheets are? I believe that this was part of my issue).
-2 cups warm water
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1 packet yeast
-1 teaspoon salt
-5 1/2 - 6 1/2 cups flour
Mix the sugar, yeast, salt, and 2 cups of the flour in a bowl. Add the warm water to make the sponge. Let rise- I put it in my kitchen and went out and did errands for about 2 hours, and it was about 2-3 times the size of the original.
Add the rest of the flour and knead well. Divide into 8 balls, and let rest (I let them rest and rise a little for 1 hour).
Roll out each ball to approximately 1/4'' thick, and place on baking sheets with cornmeal.
Bake at 500 F on the lowest rack of your oven for 3 minutes, then move to the top and bake for 3 more minutes (taking into account the oven you're working with!).
The finished pita, with my most successful ones in front!