Cast-Iron Skillet Pita Bread
Mixing some of the flour to create a “sponge” before preparing the dough is the secret to successful homemade pitas. (Busy cooks’ bonus: the bread freezes well.)
1. Mix 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and 1 cup lukewarm water in large bowl with fork. Cover with clean kitchen towel, and let stand in warm place 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick and bubbly. This is the “sponge.”
2. Stir 2 cups flour, salt, and 1/2 cup water into yeast mixture. Knead 2 to 3 minutes with hands or dough hook of electric mixer until dough is smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and olive oil; knead 2 to 3 minutes more, or until dough comes together. Transfer to floured work surface, and knead 5 to 7 minutes more, or until dough is no longer sticky. Shape into ball, place in floured bowl, and cover with kitchen towel. Let rise 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover, and let rise 30 minutes more.
3. Shape dough into 10 2-inch balls on floured work surface. Cover with kitchen towel, and let rise 30 minutes. Roll balls into 1/4-inch-thick circles. Cover, and let stand 30 minutes more.
4. Brush cast iron skillet with canola oil, and heat over high heat. Place 1 dough circle on skillet. Cook 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side, or until pita is puffed, pushing on puffed pita with spatula to cook edges. Repeat with remaining dough circles, oiling skillet as necessary.