Pita, large and flat, or smaller with a pocket, is the staple bread of the Middle-East. Probably few people in Middle-Eastern countries would dream of making pita at home, but it's a recipe that is fairly simple and always amazes me when I watch the small loaves balloon up in the oven to magically form a pocket. Of course, home-baked pita is much better than any of the packaged ones available in the supermarket, and they can rival the ones purchased in the markets in the Middle-East.


Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup water. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the plastic blade, combine the yeast mixture with the remaining ingredients, and knead for 2 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and has the texture of your earlobe. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise 2 hours. Punch down the dough, and let rise again, 1 1/2 hours.

Cut the dough into 12 pieces, form into balls, and roll into flat disks (about 1/4 inch thick) on a floured surface.

Preheat the oven to 500°F. with unglazed quarry tiles covering the upper rack. After the rolled out disks have rested for 15-20 minutes, bake them (3 or four at a time) on the hot tiles, 1 minute per side. The finished pitot are only barely beginning to color, having a bit of flour still clinging to the surface. Cool on a rack, and store in plastic bags, or freeze.

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