When I was little, one day I decided I did not like most foods and stopped eating them seemingly overnight. Meat was removed from my diet unless it was cooked on a barbeque and it was a chop or a sausage and I decided I had issues with all forms of sauce except tomato. Because of this, I missed out on eating what was reported to be the best Yiros Adelaide had – The National Fish Cafe Yiros. The National Fish Cafe is unfortunately no more but used to be situated near the Grand Hotel on Jetty Rd Glenelg.
My brother would always get the lamb Yiros and he would sit across the kitchen table from me, ready to demolish it, whilst I would start my pleading to please have a little corner of the luscious, moist pita bread that was slightly oily but was clear of any “scary” lamb filling. And that was my fish and chip shop ritual – I would always beg for a few scraps of melt in the mouth pita bread before I was told I could have no more and to this day I have still not tried a pita bread as moist and insanely delicious as that. I came to realise only recently on one of my Yiros bread rants that I can’t believe my parents never just asked the owners for a piece of the bread to satisfy my very basic needs??!!! My mum did bump into one of the owners years later and redeeming herself (it’s not at all my fault that I was a picky little shit ) she asked about the brand of bread they used. She did find out…. but forgot again…. “You can still buy it though”, she reported to me. Good to know.
So on Friday night whilst assessing the money I had left until pay day, I decided walking to Coles to get some bland, card board pita out of my measly amount of money was a waste of time. I realised I could just make the pita myself and maybe I can once more experience soft, moist, unforgettable pita. I was pretty happy with what I made - but it wasn’t quite the same as the one I remember from when I was little. Still, I don’t think I will buy it anymore – it’s so easy to make yourself.
Makes 8 large pitas
3 cups plain flour
1 (7)gm packet yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 ( I used a tad more) water at room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 1/4 cup of water and stir together with a spoon. Stir until all the ingredients form a ball. If some of the dough is not sticking then gradually add a bit more water – I needed about 1/4 cup more.
Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the dough on your work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes.
When you have finished kneading the dough, form a ball and place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil – making sure you coat the entire ball of dough in the oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size or approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.
When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down with your fist and divide it into 8 pieces – or if you want smaller pita breads divide them again. Roll each piece into a ball, place on a tray or on baking paper and cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
When you have got your balls resting preheat the oven to 200 degrees. I used a pizza stone to put the pita bread on – if you don’t have then a thin roasting pan would be fine.
Spread a small amount of flour on your work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a bit more flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Roll it out extremely thin – to about 1/4 inch thick.
Place the Pita’s on the hot stone or tray – I could only fit one at a time. They will get puffy and be cooked at around 3 minutes. I found that 2 minutes was perfect as I like my pita soft and easy to roll up but 3 minutes is ok and they have a bit more colour to them. Try and test for yourself.
Serving Suggestion: Serve warm straight away or lightly brush one side with olive oil and put oil side down on a grill plate or fry pan to get the pita nice and warm and soft – don’t leave for too long or the bread will become crisp.
Serve with – Croatian Cevapcici with Sour Cream and Ajvar or Greek Yiros