I started making pita bread shortly after learning to make hummus. I lucked out on my first attempt, a hasty decision before a party that wound up being a hit, and I’ve barely let a day go by since without a jar of it on the go.
I was still eating store-bought pita bread, because I was under the impression that making bread required some obscure magic that I probably couldn’t access. But then, one day, I ran out of pita bread.
The struggle is real?
I didn’t want to go anywhere. I just wanted to eat my hummus. I made my first batch of pita bread that day, and I’ve barely had a reason to go to the store since.
Like most things, my pita bread gets better with practice, and the most satisfying part of the process (apart from eating it, a skill I was born with) is popping those floppy little disks of dough into the oven and watching them puff up into magical gluten balloons. It didn’t always happen, until I finally got around to buying a baking stone.
For those unfamiliar, a baking stone is porous and retains heat brilliantly, and it’s great for not burning things and for absorbing excess moisture. I won’t pretend to know the full science behind it, but it creates perfect conditions for pita bread, and pizza. I finally picked one up recently, and my first use resulted in the most incredible pita bread balloons I have ever seen. I might even take a picture next time.
Speaking of pizza…
Baking stones are also called pizza stones, unless I’vebeen lied to, which I’ll never fully rule out. What I picked up is called a pizza stone, and it worked on non-pizza baked goods (more like baked bests), so I’ll keep running with that. And it inspired a brilliant friend to suggest that I try making pizza with it.
I did, and it was amazing, and now my life is full of pizza and so am I. I’ll probably do this once a week, which means that this baking stone is not going to get any prettier.
Lather, rinse, and go buy another baking stone because you just ruined yours
The thing about these things is that they require special care. You can’t pop yours into the dishwasher and walk forth into a regret-free life. You can’t even use soap because it’ll absorb it and impart a lovely soap flavour into anything you bake with it for the rest of your life. Your cleaning options involve scraping and rinsing and nothing else. They also say that the inevitable stains and discolouration add to its charm. If I think about it as a visual record of all the flour-based joy this stone has brought me, I can think of it as something pleasant instead of horrible gross stains. I’ll take it.