Author Notes: I love working with yeast breads and years ago after watching my friend’s mom making her daily Pita bread with ease I was inspired to make my own. My endeavors were successful in consistently making flat bread, but, pita needs to puff out and mine were not always doing that.
Recently, I came across a blog with great pita making pictures and a recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, a book I do not own – shock of the world! Anyway, I was inspired to revisit my pita making days. The recipe ingredients in Artisan Breads are the same as the recipe I acquired years ago, however, a few tips in handling the dough made all the difference for me. These are easy, fun to make and turned out to be the best looking I have ever made. I baked the ones pictured on a flat cookie sheet and the next time around on a baking stone, both work just as well.
While they are baking, I just have to stay close to the front of the oven to watch them puff and I bet you will too! Since posting this recipe I have made the Horiatiki Salad submited by drbabs and it is an excellent combo with these pitas.
Makes 8 pitas easily; but it really depends on the chunk of dough you pull off.
- 1-1/2 Cups lukewarm water
- 2 1/2 Tsp active dry yeast
- A pinch of sugar
- NOTE: if you happen to use instant yeast, instead, no need for the sugar - start with step 2.
- 2 1/2 Tsp salt
- 3 1/4 cups bread flour (I have used King Arthur AP flour with success-fyi)
- Add the water to a large bowl, stir in the active dry yeast and sugar - proof it = let it sit until foamy 2-5 minutes. Stir in the salt. Mix in the flour until uniformly moist...skip to step 3.
- NOTE: if using instant yeast, instead, mix your yeast, salt and flour together . Add the water to a large bowl and then mix in the flour mixture until uniformly moist.
- There’s no need to knead - but is optional. Cover with a loose lid or towel and let rise for about 2 hours. Can let rise covered in the refrigerator overnight - let the dough sit out about an hour before forming pitas and baking.
- An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500F, with or without a baking stone. Pita dough likes a very hot oven.
- Before forming a round, dust the surface of the dough with flour and pull off a piece - size is up to you. Dust the piece with more flour and shape it into a ball, at this stage, this dough is sticky but easy to handle, it's ok to use the amount of flour it takes to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the rolling pin.
- So, using your hands, a little flour and a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin but kind of puffy round…see special note below.
- SPECIAL NOTE: In the past I rolled the dough so flat that it didn’t puff, however, others say the flatter you roll the puffier…I have since found that what worked for me is not to go so flat.
- If using a baking stone; I place the dough round one by one, and take out with the help of a metal peel, most instructions say to place the round on a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal and slide the dough directly onto the baking stone. I don’t like messing with all the cornmeal, I like my method. I own a wooden and metal peel, the metal works best when making pita.
- Alternate pita baking would be to place the dough on a baking sheet, it works great, you can make 3-4 at the same time, this is actually my favorite way to bake them. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned and puffed. My oven takes between 6.5 to 7 minutes, they start to puff a little over 3 minutes.
- When you pull them out of the oven, wrap the pitas in a clean dish towel and set on a rack to keep them soft.