One of my favourite things to serve at parties/gatherings is toasted pitta with hummus. I don’t make my hummus from scratch (so far I haven’t found homemade to taste different enough from store bought to justify the effort), but I do tart it up with lashings of olive oil, sea salt flakes and pepper. You can even add some crushed chickpeas for extra texture (and to really fool people into thinking its homemade!).
These homemade pitta breads however, are definitely worth the effort. In just over an hour, you can have deliciously uneven, puffed up, warm dunkable deliciousness. Covered with a slightly damp teatowel, they deflate ready for dipping, and they are also amazing eaten straight away, with the top sliced off and the inside filled with hummus, salad and ripe tomatoes.
By the way – in case you’re wondering, it seems to be pitta in the UK and pita in some other places – at least we can all agree on how to say it!
Recipe by Paul Hollywood, via BBC food
- 250g strong white flour – I usually use plain flour with no noticeable difference
- 1 sachet instant yeast – 7g
- 1 tsp salt
- 160ml tepid water (cold mixed with boiling until its hand-hot)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
In a large bowl, sieve your flour and add the yeast and salt, on opposite sides of the bowl. Pour in two thirds of the water and mix with a wooden spoon. It quickly becomes easier to switch to your hands to help bring the dough together. If you need it, add the remaining water and form the dough into a sticky clump, using it to pick up errant pieces of dough.
Once its all come together, drizzle your work top with olive oil and knead the dough for around 5 minutes until its springing back in your hands and is smooth and lump free.
Drop into an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until its doubled in size – it will take 45 minutes to an hour depending on how warm your house is!
Toward the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 250C/475F/gas 9 and put a very large baking tray or bread stone on the middle shelf.
Punch down your dough and knead briefly on a floured surface and roll into a sausage like shape. Chop into 6/8 pieces around the same size (they should be about the same size as a dough ball from Pizza Express, or a whole walnut in its shell).
Using a rolling pin, roll each of your dough balls into a flat, roundish (mine were a bit wonky!) shape. Dust with flour and place onto the hot baking tray before returning it immediately into the oven (I baked mine in two batches).
Bake for 5 – 10 minutes in the middle of the oven, then cool under a clean cloth. Eat, preferably outdoors.