We’re big fans of gyros around here. While we love going to the local Greek diner to have the more authentic version with a side of greasy fries, I am even more in love with the fact that we’ve found a way to enjoy them at home with a lot less fat, but no compromise on flavor. I have to thank Elly Says Opa! for her chicken filling and tzatziki recipes. They’re both quite famous on the message board I frequent, and I can completely understand why. After a little searching, I came across Brown Eyed Baker’s post on Homemade Pita Breads. I love a bread recipe that you can goof up and it still turns out a-okay.
As I noted below, I used breast meat for our gyros, and they turned out great. The marinade is so rich and flavorful, that it keeps the chicken really, really juicy. I served our pitas with a selection of veggies that you can see below, as well as some baked onion rings and sweet potato fries. It was like having a “healthy” diner right in our own kitchen. Any leftovers are great as gyros again, but the pita bread could be cut into wedges and baked at 350⁰ for about 10 minutes to make “chips” to dip into extra tzatziki. Yum!
Freshly baked pita breads cooling before being made into gyros.
The platter of toppings and sides waiting for the pitas and chicken to be ready
A chicken gyro ready to be enjoyed!
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Sugar or Honey
- 1 packet, or 2 tsp, Yeast
- 1 ¼ – 1 ½ cups Water, room temperature
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Vegetable Oil, Butter, or Shortening
- 32oz. Yogurt, Plain (Fat free is not recommended, but a fat free Greek yogurt like Fage will be OK, since it’s strained & thicker)
- 1 Hothouse Cucumber, or 2 Regular Cucumbers, seeded
- 3-5 cloves Garlic, depending on your tastes, crushed
- 1-2 tsp White Wine Vinegar
- Squeeze Fresh Lemon Juice (optional)
- 1 ¼ lbs. Chicken (I usually use breast meat, but thighs will work as well)
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Plain Yogurt
- 1 Tbsp Oregano, dried
Toppings & Sides:
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Red Onion, quartered and sliced thin
- Cucumber, sliced thin
- Kalamata Olives
- Mix the yeast in with the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the olive oil and 1 ¼ cup water and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water [I had to add a bit more water].
- Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface, such as a cutting board, and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes. I did it by hand and 10 minutes was dead on as far as a time estimate.
- When you are done kneading the dough, place it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with oil. Form a ball out of the dough and place it into the bowl, rolling the ball of dough around in the bowl so that it has a light coat of oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
- When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it’ll be easier to shape.
- While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450⁰. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.
- After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick – 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.
- Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet, or parchment paper, and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.
- Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn’t necessary. I baked mine for about 5 minutes each.
- Strain yogurt using cheesecloth, or a strainer lined with a coffee filter, over a bowl for several hours or overnight to get out as much moisture as possible.
- Peel and seed the cucumber. Shred the cucumbers and then squeeze the life out of them to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible. I use a towel to do this, and you will get a lot of liquid so don’t skip this step! Yes, there is a lot of straining and squeezing–and it’s all important! You don’t want a runny tzatziki
- Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice (if desired). Salt to taste. It’s best to refrigerate for 30 minutes or more before serving, so flavors can meld.
- Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Preheat the broiler, grill, or pan on the stove. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
- Top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki, and your choice of toppings. I like cucumbers, tomatoes, and just a few onions.
- Fold up and eat. Opa!