Skillet Pita Bread

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times, September 2010 issue.  These are very time intensive but they are so delicious.

3 1/2 cups bread flour,divided, plus more for dusting work surface
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups water, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Canola oil for greasing skillet

For sponge, in a large bowl (kitchen aid mixer bowl) mix:
1 cup flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup lukewarm water

Cover with a clean towel, and let stand in a warm place 30 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly.

Stir into the sponge:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water

Knead 2 or 3 minutes (by hand or with mixer) until dough is smooth.

Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and olive oil

Knead 2-3 minutes more until dough comes together. I find this needs an additional 1/2 cup flour at this point, but the dough should be sticky. Knead (on counter or in mixer) an additional 5-7 minutes until no longer sticky.

Shape into a ball, place in oiled bowl, cover with towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour

Punch down, cover and let rise an additional 30 minutes.

Shape into approximately 10 2-inch balls. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Roll balls into 1/4-inch thick circles. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. This bit is a challenge since you can’t stack the rounds or they will stick together. So far the best arrangement is to place them on cookie sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.

Brush cast iron skillet with oil, and heat over high heat. Place one circle in pan and cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side, repeat. I use a griddle pan so that I can cook 4-6 at a time.

These freeze very well. Microwave them from frozen or if you are patient, wrap them in foil and place in over/toaster oven at 350˚ for 5-10 minutes.

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