Surprisingly easy homemade pita breads, topped with strips of lamb marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs, baba ganoush and a zesty lemon mayo. This greek-style dish is perfect for Sunday lunch or dinner.
Welcome to another episode of getting out of our kitchen comfort zones. You may recall last month when I posted the recipe for these steamed mushroom buns, that I talked about 2019 being the year to try new things in the kitchen. For me, a huge part of this was learning to make bread.
For some reason, bread has always felt intimidating. I don’t know why really. I think I just hear people say that yeast can be fickle and that bread is temperamental, and that was enough for me to formulate this idea that bread was hard to make.
So this year, I have busted out the yeast packets and started along my bread making journey. And I am ready to bring you along with me as well, because today we are making greek pita bread, from scratch! And it is so easy that you will wonder (like me) why you didn’t try this earlier.
Also, let’s take a minute to discuss how good the Greeks are at food. The lemon potatoes at Brisbane restaurant Lefkas are seriously one of the greatest things that exist. While I am no expert on cooking Greek cuisine, there are a few elements that I take with me when I’m cooking in this style at home. First is lots of herbs, garlic and olive oil. The second is meat and bread. Combining all these things for me creates a perfectly simple, probably not super authentic, but really really delicious greek-style meal at home. If I want authentic, I am definitely just going to Lefkas.
How to Make Greek Pita Bread
The more I learn about bread making, the more I am amazed at how the same ingredients can come together to make such a range of different bread products.
Greek pita bread needs to be made from a dough that is soft and smooth, and when cooked gives you a beautifully soft and chewy texture. That’s exactly what we have here and it is easier to achieve than you may think. The only specialist equipment required is a good quality skillet. Sure a regular frying pan would technically work, but the evenness of cooking and the flavour you get by using a cast iron skillet is something that cannot be replicated in any other way.
First, start by combining your yeast, sugar and warm water in the base of a large bowl. Mix together and then let rest for about 5 minutes covered with a damp tea towel. The mixture should get nice and frothy – if it doesn’t your yeast is dead and you will need to throw it away and get some new stuff.
Once frothy, add to it your flour, oil and salt. I use bread flour as it has a higher protein content which is what helps with the gluten development aka the chewy texture we are after. If you don’t want to buy special flour, just regular plain flour will work fine, however the texture will not be as chewy.
Mix everything together either in a stand mixer with a dough hook (makes this sooo easy) or with a wooden spoon by hand (work those biceps!). Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding more flour if the mixture is too sticky, until you get a smooth dough.
Lightly oil the mixing bowl, coating the ball of dough as well and set aside in a warm spot covered with the damp tea towel for 45 mins to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and again turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Shape into a ball and cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and begin rolling out the dough into circles. You want the dough circles to be about 15 cm in diameter. Make sure to keep any dough that you are not using covered with the damp tea towel so it doesn’t dry out.
Heat your skillet on the stove with a little olive oil. Once hot, add the bread one at a time, cooking for about 2 minutes until it is puffing and bubbling and the bottom has gotten golden. Turn and cook for another minute. Repeat until all bread is cooked.
Serve the pitas immediately or keep in the fridge for 3 days, just reheating in the microwave for 30 seconds to bring back that beautiful soft texture.
What makes these pitas the best is how you decide to dress them up. You can serve them straight up with a homemade hummus or any of your favourite dips (taramasalata anyone?) or top them with really anything you fancy.
Today we are keeping things simple with lamb marinated in olive oil, garlic and herbs, some baba ganoush (store bought because you just made homemade pita bread so you deserve some shortcuts), and a zesty lemon mayo because it’s delicious and everything is better with sauce.
This is basic flavours brought together to be one of the tastiest lunch or dinners you have thrown together. And super satisfying because again, you made pita bread and it’s amazing!
Gather some friends, get your hands dirty, and cook up this Greek feast for a Sunday lunch. You’ll have so much fun trying something new, and your taste buds will thank you when you sit down to enjoy it together.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Greek Style Lamb Pitas
Homemade Greek Pita Bread
- 7 gram packet dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour plus 1/4 cup extra
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 500 grams lamb leg steak
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- baba ganoush dip
- lemon mayo see notes
- Make the pita bread. Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in the base of a large bowl. Mix together and let rest for about 5 minutes covered with a damp tea towel until frothy. Add flour, oil and salt and mix either by hand with a wooden spoon, or using a dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, until the dough comes together. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding more flour if the mixture is too sticky, until you get a smooth dough. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl that has been lightly oiled and turn the dough until it is coated in the oil. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm spot for 45-60 mins until the dough has doubled in size.
- Marinate the lamb. While the dough is rising, cut up the lamb into strips and and place into a bowl. Finley chop the garlic and add to the bowl along with the olive oil, herbs, salt and lemon zest. Mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you finish the bread.
- Once the pita bread dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead again until the dough is smooth. Shape into a ball and cut evenly into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and using a rolling pin roll out the dough into circles about 15 cm in diameter one at a time. Make sure to keep any dough that you are not working with covered with the damp tea towel so it doesn’t dry out.
- Heat your skillet on the stove with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add the dough one at a time, cooking for about 2 minutes until the bread is puffing and bubbling and the bottom is golden. Turn and cook for another minute. Repeat until all bread is cooked and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and add the lamb strips, cooking for a couple of minutes until brown and just cooked through.
- Assemble. Spread a spoonful of the baba ganoush dip on the middle of a pita. Top with a few lettuce leaves and the lamb. Drizzle with the lemon mayo and some chopped parsley.