Pita bread is a yeast-leavened round flatbread baked from wheat flour, common in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and neighbouring areas. Pita bread goes extremely well with falafel and hummus. It is also used to make falafel sandwiches as pita goes well with the sauces and wraps.
1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil (optional)
Mix the water and yeast together, and let it sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil (if using). Sprinkle a little of the extra flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and keep turning it until it's coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, for 1-2 hours. At this point, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle a little more flour on the pieces and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap until you're ready to bake them. Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter-inch thick. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
While shaping the pitas, heat the oven to 450°. Place the rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone or baking sheets and bake for about three minutes. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully ballooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.
Warm a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until a few beads of water sizzle immediately on contact. Pour a little oil in the pan and wipe off the excess. Lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side.