While wandering the streets at lunchtime, I often eye the ethnic food carts. So many wonderful (and some not so wonderful) smells coming out of those carts. Two of the most popular falafel vendors, Alan’s and Sam’s, have the craziest lines snaking from the carts. They even serve a tasty little treat inside each bag when you order an overstuffed falafel sandwich. Included in the bag is a greasy piece of crisp pita. Sam’s even has a bowl where you can help yourself to these tasty treats. Those crispy pita chips are such a tease.
We don’t have too many decent kosher options in the area where I work – let alone kosher falafel carts. Moshe’s used to come by, but they disappeared about a year ago. So I’m left on my own in the world of falafel sandwiches.
I offered to make the family some falafel the other night. Nobody was interested. When I suggested making some homemade pita to keep on hand though, the ears perked up. Homemade fresh pita is so much better than the store-bought and it comes together fast.
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp olive oil
3 1/2 + cups of flour
Place the yeast in a large bowl.
Pour the warm water over the yeast. Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
Add salt, olive oil, and 1.5 cups of flour. Stir the mixture in to a paste with a wooden spoon.
Stir in another 1.5 cups of flour.
Turn on to a floured surface and begin to knead. While kneading, add flour as necessary until the dough is not sticky anymore. The dough will still be soft and pliable.
When ready, form in to a large ball shape and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let it sit for about 30 minutes or so – while the oven heats up.
Turn the oven to 465.
Cut the dough with a dough cutter in to around 8 equal pieces.
Form the dough in to balls.
Roll out the balls until around 1/4 inch thick. Make sure that the rounds aren’t any thinner or they won’t have that lovely pocket effect.
Spray the tops of the dough with a bit of water and olive oil mixed together. Not too much – just a couple of drops to keep moist.
Let the dough rounds sit for about ten minutes. During that ten minutes or so, heat up your heavy baking sheet.
Take a spatula and turn 3 dough rounds at a time on to a baking sheet and place in the oven.
Keep the oven light on so you can watch the magic that happens inside your oven. The pitas will begin to puff up. At about 5 minutes or so, the pita will be puffy and will have browned a little on the bottom.
The pita should be ready. Place on towel or platter to cool.
Enjoy your pitas with falafel, hummus or whatever your heart desires. Stay tuned for some tasty treats that will be made with this yummy pita!