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Basic Pita Bread

Basic Pita Bread
Mia Morgenstern for NPR /

This bread is easier to make than you think, and the perfect accompaniment to Middle Eastern food. Serve fresh, and your dinner guests will love you.

Makes 8 to 10 pitas, depending on size

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

In bowl of a stand mixer, mix warm water with sugar and yeast and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until it's just starting to foam.

Add all-purpose flour and mix with a paddle attachment for 2 minutes. Add whole-wheat flour, salt and olive oil, and mix until combined. Then switch to a dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes more, until dough is homogenous and just a bit tacky.

Remove from bowl and knead a few times by hand, then form into a ball. Spray or brush a large bowl with olive oil, and place ball of dough into bowl, turning to coat lightly with oil. Cover and allow dough to rise for about 1-1/2 hours, until doubled.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to its highest setting (about 500 degrees). If you have a baking stone, preheat it along with the oven. If not, preheat a large cast-iron skillet or a heavy-duty baking sheet.

Gently punch down dough and divide into 8 to 10 pieces. Keep remaining dough covered and roll out one piece into a circle, a bit less than 1/4-inch thick. Set aside and cover. Repeat with remaining dough.

When ready to bake, slide 1 or 2 pitas at a time onto stone, skillet or baking sheet. Bake for about 2 minutes, until pitas are puffed and firm, but not crispy. Carefully remove from oven and wrap in a dish towel until ready to serve.

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