Middle Eastern

Pita Bread

June 11, 2010
9 Ratings
  • Makes 8 Pitas easily; but it really depends on the chunk of dough you pull off.
Author Notes

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. So I gave it up for a while. Finally, I came across a 2008 posting in a blog named - Pete Bakes!, depicting excellent pita making photos, along with a recipe from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, a book I do not own – shock of the world, but anyway, I was inspired to revisit my pita making days.

With the exception of using bread flour and rapid rise yeast (my tweaks) - the dough recipe on Pete Bakes! - is similar to the recipe I acquired years ago; additional tips in handling the dough made all the difference for me.

This recipe is easy and fun to make; in fact they turned out to be the best looking I have ever made. Those I baked in the photo, above, were done on a flat cookie sheet - the next time around I used 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!

What You'll Need
  • 1-1/2 Cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 Tsp active dry yeast, or instant/rapid rise yeast (see note below)
  • NOTE: if you use instant yeast (the sugar can be optional) - start with step 2
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour (I use King Arthur-fyi), or all-purpose flour
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. An hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500F, with or without a baking stone. Pita dough likes a very hot oven.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. SPECIAL NOTE: In the past years I rolled the dough so flat it didn’t puff; hmmm, but some say the flatter you roll the better !@!@ - I found what works for me is not to roll so flat.
  8. If using a baking stone; I place the dough round, by hand, one by one, and take it out with the help of a metal peel. Note: 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 the cornmeal, I prefer my method. BTW, I own a wooden and metal peel, I find the metal peel works best when taking the pita out of the oven.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emily Love
    Emily Love
  • lisina
  • growinggourmand
  • boulangere
  • Martin69

39 Reviews

Emily L. May 1, 2016
Just made these and they turned out perfect! I used bread flour and baked them on a cast iron skillet. Will definitely be making these again! Super easy and so much better than store bought!
lapadia May 3, 2016
Hi Emily, Thanks so much for your feedback am happy to hear all worked out perfect! We love making this recipe...tasty and fun to make, too :)
lisina March 6, 2014
this is such a great foolproof recipe! the last batch i made, i substituted the bread flour for half AP and half whole wheat. they still puffed beautifully. also, when i roll them out, i sprinkle my work surface with sesame seeds. it keeps the bread from sticking and adds a little extra crunch and flavor to the final product.
lapadia March 6, 2014
Hi lisina, so happy to get your feedback and love your sesame seed idea, thanks for sharing it! :)
growinggourmand October 5, 2011
Love this bread! We were able to use it in our class for both southwestern rice sandwiches and our greek salad sandwiches!!!! I think we are finally hang of getting them perfectly puffy! :) Thanks so much Lapadia!!!!
lapadia October 5, 2011
H,i growinggourmand! I am thrilled you had so much fun with these and the sandwiches sound very delicious, love the photo above :) I always tell everybody half the fun of making Pita Bread is working on the technique to get them puffy, and watching them puff as they bake; and even if they don't puff they can still be used up for something tasty!
boulangere October 3, 2011
Is the 2 1/2 measurement for instant or active dry yeast? Making these today for lunch.
Martin69 October 3, 2011
Yeast is yeast, accept if it's active dry yeast you will want the sugar added with the ingredients. If is is not active dry yeast, I usually put it in about 1/4 cup of warm water and with the sugar and let it foam for 5 min. or more. Adjust your water amount as well if using packet yeast.
lapadia October 3, 2011
Hi boulangere and thanks Martin69 :), this recipe was written for using active dry, however, I have used instant many times; I edited the written portion, hope it is clearer. Actually for this particular recipe, I just let the active dry yeast proof in the bowl with water...before adding everything else...skipping the step Martin69 does with the 1/4 cup water. Also...I have used AP flour at times (when out of BF) and the results were great...btw. Have fun! Will love to hear back after you have made them!!
boulangere October 4, 2011
Thanks, lapadia! We cut the 2 1/2 teaspoons in half because we were using instant (and high power instant at that). They are absolutely beautiful! I'll post you a photo of what we did with them. Great recipe, definitely print and keep quality.
lapadia October 4, 2011
Hi boulangere! I am so thrilled to get your feedback, and will be looking forward to your photos, too! :)
Montana C. October 4, 2011
They're posted on the recipe for Southwestern Rice Salad Sandwich Filling. Fantastic, and thank you so much!
bottomupfood August 3, 2011
This recipe, like others, ended up yielding half-puffed pitas for me. It's always so frustrating when this happens. My husband had a great suggestion - make them into rolls instead. They were killer rolls, especially with a bit of cornflour on the bottom. We stuffed the rolls just as we would have the pitas. I think that might be my modus operandi moving forward.
lapadia August 3, 2011
Thanks for trying this recipe...and for your feedback, bottomupfood! :), and yes, I hate when when that happens, I finally got to a point where I achieved 100% puffiness...after many frustrating tries. LOVE your roll idea, will be trying that myself!!
boulangere May 1, 2011
Pita bread fed me through graduate school, and I really haven't made it much since then. I look forward to trying yours this week. Thank you!
lapadia May 1, 2011
Sounds great! They are so much fun to make, even if they don't all "puff up"...haha!
cherrygirl May 1, 2011
Hi, i've got a bit of a problem with the yeast. I used instant yeast and added lukewarm water as instructured but it did not form at all even after 10 mins of waiting! The climate is humid although it was raining on the day i tried this recipe.

Does anyone know what went wrong?
lapadia May 1, 2011
Hi cherrygirl! I'm in total agreement with what others stated on the food pickle…instant yeast doesn't need proofing. The only other thing I am thinking is maybe there was chance that the water was warmer than it should be...and perhaps killed the yeast...just a thought. Anyway, you could always dump the water and yeast, and start over with that part of the recipe if you have a doubt...and believe me I have done that a few times :) BTW - I use instant yeast in the majority of my yeast recipes, and as you read online, I always add it to the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients (you can check some of my other bread recipes for that as an example)…however, this recipe wasn’t written that way. I love that you did it your way, Happy Pita making...I would love to hear how everything turned out for you! Linda :)
lapadia May 2, 2011
Hi again, just a quick note letting you know that I added a special note re: the yeast instant vs. active dry...all thanks to you and your much appreciated question!
Martin69 November 18, 2010
Thank you so very much for posting this recipe! I have receintly become unemployed and have really, really gotten into baking. Now I have a pita recipe to play with! This looks like so much fun!
lapadia November 18, 2010
Hi Martin69, yes, making pita bread is a lot of fun and glad you will be "playing" with this one! Keep me posted!
fraîchement August 17, 2010
I am SO happy you posted this recipe. I am going to try this recipe out in the next few days. Thanks!
lapadia August 18, 2010
They are SO much fun to make...happy Pita making!
drbabs June 15, 2010
Hi lapadia--I made the pita tonight. They were delicious. They did puff but they were nowhere near as pretty as yours. Any tips on rolling them out round? (mine were kind of mis-shapen) Thanks.
lapadia June 15, 2010
Woo-hoo, so exciting!! Let’s see, let my brain start from the beginning; I cut off a chunk of dough, lightly shape it into a ball with my hands, pat the dough into a circle, use the palm of my hand to flatten into a disk…all the while extra flour is being used when needed, don’t want it sticking to your hands, the work surface or the rolling pin. Then I use the rolling pin from the middle out, and then turn the disk, from the middle out, turn, from the middle…turn. I just keep turning, and rolling, kind of like making a pie crust round…hope that helps. BTW - Some of mine still come out mis-shaped AND sometimes parts of them don’t puff! My OCD will drive me to keep making them until they are all perfect, hahaha. Congrats on getting them to puff out! Did you have to watch the puff happen?
drbabs June 16, 2010
I did see them puff--so fun! My husband was impressed that they created a pocket--he didn't realize that that was part of the bread--he thought it was a fold or something. Our little Greek restaurant used to get puffy pitas that didn't have a pocket--they had a very light airy crumb in the center--almost like New Orleans French bread. I'd love to know the trick for doing that!
lapadia June 13, 2010
NOTE: to all...I just elaborated a little more re: using extra flour in steps 4 & 5.
lapadia June 13, 2010
FYI...made the Horiatiki Salad submitted by drbabs, makes an excellent combo with these pitas! Attached a picture.
khilberg June 12, 2010
I remember that Molly Katzen had a pita recipe in one of her Moosewood cookbooks. I think I tried it when I was in High School and it worked perfectly. I think I'm going to give this recipe a try!
lapadia June 13, 2010
Well then khilberg, check out drbabs horiatiki salad and try that with your pita too!
drbabs June 12, 2010
Try this with my horiatiki salad!
lapadia June 12, 2010
Actually, that is part of my plan...I have your salad recipe saved, sounds delish!
drbabs June 12, 2010
Cool--I'm going to do the same this week. That little Greek restaurant used to serve the most amazing puffy pitas--I could eat them by the cartonful. I'm hoping to be able to make them myself with your recipe.
TheWimpyVegetarian June 12, 2010
And now there's at least 3 of us planning to eat this combo this week! how fun!
TheWimpyVegetarian June 12, 2010
I love to make pita bread - but haven't done so now in a couple years. You've motivated me to make some this week with your recipe. They're so fun to make. Thanks!
lapadia June 12, 2010
Great...Happy Pita making!
lapadia June 11, 2010
You will have a blast with these!
AntoniaJames June 11, 2010
What a great recipe!! Thank you for posting this. I've wanted to make pita for a while now. This is perfect. ;o)
lapadia June 11, 2010
As I wrote above...you will have a blast. BTW- I wanted to mention re: your Buttermilk bread, I made that recipe, love it, and inspired by using buttermilk with yeast dough, I have rising right now, my sandwich bun recipe...today's adaption using buttermilk, and part wheat flour.