Of all the bread recipes I’ve ever made, Pita Bread has the be the easiest. Sure, you have to roll it out, let is rest for 5 minutes, and then flop it onto a cake-rack (I used a clean BBQ’s rack). This recipe makes 5, 6-7″ pita and you only use half of one for each burger. We’re making hummus next so we can wipe the rest out. You can freeze them, but they’re usually last about a week in the fridge.
Now, the Tzatziki sauce is a real keeper. It’s that Greek cucumber/mint/dill yogurt sauce that works so perfectly on gyros and the like. I read somewhere that if the sauce is too runny (likely from the cucumbers being so watery) you can remove some of the liquid with cheesecloth, so I did that for a beautiful consistency somewhere between yogurt and ricotta cheese.
Enough blabbering, lets get cooking.
48: Greek Burgers w/ Homemade Pita Bread & Tzatziki Sauce
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 2 Greek burgers with an excess of 4 whole pita for later
- 2/3 cup Warm Water (110-115F) –I used a microwave to heat it and then waited until it cooled enough.
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- 2 cups AP Flour
- 5/8 tsp Salt
- 5/8 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 cup Plain Yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped Cucumber (about 1/4 of a large Cucumber)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1&1/2 tsp minced fresh Dill (add an extra 1/2 tsp for dry Dill)
- 1 clove Garlic, minced (about 1/2 tsp)
- 4-5 Mint Leaves, minced
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- (optional: cheese cloth to strain out excess liquid)
- 2 Hamburger/Gardenburger patties (about 1/2 lb ground Beef shaped into patties)
- Purple Onion
- Mixed Greens
- Feta Cheese (for spicy “Fire Feta”, combine Feta in a bowl with a few shakes of Cayenne Pepper!)
This recipe is an example of multitasking. The longest thing to make for this meal is the bread. So the first thing we’ll do is combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl, whisking together for a few seconds to aerate the mixture. Set aside for about 5 minutes. While that is doing its thing, gather your flour, salt, and olive oil and get that ready to pour into the yeast mixture. Gather a clean dish towel and spray it with a little bit of water. Set aside.
Once the yeast mixture looks a bit foamy, turn on your mixer (or your strong arm) and add the flour/salt/oil in by parts until combined. Mix/knead until the dough is pliant and smooth. Let rise for 20 minutes by covering the bowl with the damp towel and setting in a warm place.
Now, for the sauce.
Combine your ingredients in one bowl. Mix, and strain with cheesecloth to desired consistency. I put the cheesecloth over a strainer over a bowl so I can just leave it alone as gravity pulls the liquid off. Once done transfer it into a bowl with a lid and pop it into the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Back to the pita…
Preheat your oven to 500F. Seriously. High heat is your friend here.
Gather a wire cake rack or go get a clean piece of BBQ grill. If you’re desperate, you can just pop them onto the grills in your oven, but it’s better to use a rack that has less space between wires so you don’t get any drooping.
Take your pita dough out of the bowl and knead it for a minute or two. Roll it out into a fat, burrito-shape and cut into 5 equal pieces. Roll these pieces into loose balls and set aside. On a floured surface, roll each ball out into 6-7″ rounds. They don’t have to be perfect, but it helps to keep them the same size to keep the cooking time consistent. Cover them with a damp towel (the same one used for the initial rise) and let them rest for 5 minutes. Working in batches, flop them onto the cake rack and pop them into the hot oven.
They’ll puff up like little footballs. Take them out with tongs once they start to brown a little (about 10 minutes). Then, immediately place under more damp towels on a cookie sheet. They will steam and collapse. It helps to give them a light mist with a water bottle before covering them up. If you want to cut a pocket, now’s the time as it’s harder when they’re already collapsed.
And the finale…
While your pita are steaming and softening up, grill your burgers. You can season them how you like, and I recommend a nice pepper crust. For the construction, take a pita, cut in in half so you get to half-circles, and spread the tzatziki sauce on the inside with a spatula. Add your burger patty and the toppings you like, and it’s okay if your pita rips, ours did when we stuffed them full of vegetables.
Thanks, and enjoy!