Pita Bread

August 25th, 2008

I love foods that puff when you cook them.  Give me a great souffle, a perfectly risen cake, or one of these extremely yummy little pitas, and I am a happy girl.

I haven’t done a bread recipe on here in a while, and pitas have been on my to-cook list for months.  So when I found myself with some leftover yeast after making a batch of soft pretzels, I figured it was as good a time as any to give these a try.

What totally cracked me up about this recipe is that it demonstrated how completely uneven my oven’s temperature is.  The pitas in the center were puffed and lovely, as you can see.  The ones on the right side of the oven were slightly less puffy, but still formed decent pockets and turned nicely golden on top.

The pitas on the left side of the oven were flat, white, and barely cooked through.

That oven is going to be my failsafe excuse for any and all baking disasters from now on.  Remember my sunken cinnamon cake?  Definitely the oven’s fault.  These poor little pitas, that never had their chance to puff.

Ok, I’m done.  These were great, and super easy.  Give them a try!

Pita Bread

2 1/4 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp canola oil

In a small bowl, mix yeast, warm water and sugar, set aside for ten minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, canola oil, and water/yeast mixture together until incorporated.  Turn the (sticky) dough out onto a floured surface and knead in small amounts of flour until the dough is smooth and not sticky anymore (about 5-10 minutes).

Divide the ball of dough into six portions (I use a pastry scraper to do this evenly).  Roll each portion into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet covered with saran wrap for about an hour, or until they’ve about doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Once the dough has doubled, punch down each of the balls to flatten them.  With your fingers, press them out to your desired thinness for the pitas (mine were a little thick, but I like them a bit doughy).  Don’t pick the pitas up off the baking sheet, just press their centers out until they’re thin enough for you.

Bake the pitas for about 12 minutes, or until they’ve puffed and turned golden on top.  Eat them within a day or two, or freeze the cooked pitas and toast them on low heat to reheat — no need to defrost.

Makes six large pitas.

Tags: breads · food

42 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katie // Aug 25, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Oh I’m bookmarking this one!  I never have pita bread when I need it, now I can just whip some up. Thanks!

  • 2 QL Girl // Aug 25, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I love you for posting this!!! I absolutely love pita!

    Now, if I wanted to have a slightly healthier version, can I simply substitute whole wheat flour, or would I need to make other adjustments as well? (I’ve heard of half and half recipes, but always wondered why it couldn’t just be ALL whole wheat)

  • 3 Katy // Aug 25, 2008 at 8:34 am

    QL Girl — You can definitely swap whole wheat flour into this recipe, in fact, I plan to do the same thing the next time that I make it.  Two things to be aware of: First, whole wheat flour is denser than white flour, so it will rise more slowly — I would say probably let them rise for an hour and a half, or maybe more.  Second, I know I am a broken record on this, but whole wheat flour dries out really quickly, so you may need quite an extra 1/4 cup to even 1/3 cup of water to get the dough to the right consistency.  If you store your whole wheat flour in an airtight container in the fridge, it won’t dry out as quickly, but mostly look at the consistency.  After kneading, you should have a smooth, un-sticky dough, so add more flour or water as needed until you get to that point.

  • 4 Alejandra // Aug 25, 2008 at 9:29 am

    So tasty looking! I love how they puff. I also plan to make these with whole wheat flour very very soon!! 🙂

    Great recipe!

  • 5 Rita // Aug 25, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I tried making pitas a loooong time ago, and it was so messy that I never made a second attempt. This recipe sounded pretty easy to handle, I might give it a try! The pitas look nice!

  • 6 VeggieGirl // Aug 25, 2008 at 10:25 am

    Oooh, such a classic!!

  • 7 ttfn300 // Aug 25, 2008 at 11:44 am

    This looks too good not to try!  🙂

  • 8 Sarah // Aug 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I love pita and watching them puff in the oven is the best part of the recipe.  Glad they worked out for you!

  • 9 patsyk // Aug 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Wow!  I never thought to make pitas myself.  I love them for so many things.  Nice to see that they are not too overwhelming to make at home.

  • 10 Erin // Aug 25, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    These look great!  Pita has been on my list of things to make.  Hopefully I’ll get to try them soon!

  • 11 Kiki // Aug 25, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    This sounds terrific!  I’m so excited to try this to meet my “101 Things in 1001 Days” goal of baking a loaf of bread from scratch.  Thanks for the easy recipe!

  • 12 Joy the Baker // Aug 25, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Gorgeous pitas!  I think these will definitely be my next bread adventure!

  • 13 Maria // Aug 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

    I love making pita bread. I love watching them in the oven..it is so fun when they puff! Yours look great!

  • 14 Fearless Kitchen // Aug 26, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Homemade pita is the best.  I absolutely love my husband’s recipe.  He’s got some kind of strange idea about trying it on the grill next, I don’t know how that’s going to work out.

  • 15 DocChuck // Aug 26, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    WOW!  That pita sure looks better than what they sell at Trader Joes’s.

  • 16 Nate // Aug 26, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Those pitas are lovely.  I should try making them. What do you think is the secret to them puffing up like that?

  • 17 katy // Aug 26, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Nate — I think the “pocket” comes from not kneading the dough again after you punch down the balls after rising.  That, and a really hot oven with evenly-distributed temperatures, because my unrisen ones were also the least cooked!

  • 18 Elle // Aug 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Katy, they look wonderful!  They’ve got some nice color on the top, too, which mine didn’t have.  And of course any uneven baking is the oven’s fault–it always is.  Damn ovens.

  • 19 Big Boys Oven // Aug 28, 2008 at 7:04 am

    wow I am looking forward to this recipe of yours as the first picture already tempted me already, lovely!

  • 20 MyKitchenInHalfCups // Aug 28, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Great Pita Katie! Were you surprised how easy good they were?  I sure was!  Great chips and dips too.

  • 21 adele // Aug 30, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Pita bread is that easy? And I’ve been buying spongy, underbaked pita from the supermarket?

    Get me a package of yeast and some flour, stat!

  • 22 Jaime // Aug 31, 2008 at 2:27 am

    i really had fun making pita bread too! it’s always so neat to watch them puff up!

  • 23 Donald // Sep 3, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Had no idea that making pitas was so easy! Wow.

  • 24 Pink Parisian // Sep 4, 2008 at 12:39 am

    I stumbled on this and I’m so trying it! I love pita and it looks so easy to make at home. Thanks for the recipe

  • 25 Maven // Sep 4, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    I love your blog. Not just the cooking but your writing style! I also have an incredibly uneven oven.

  • 26 Nan // Sep 6, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for this recipe – I’m always running out of pita – it’s my bread of choice these days!  Love your blog!

  • 27 Shawn // Sep 7, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Looks delicious

  • 28 Lovefrom1stbite // Sep 10, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    That’s pretty good. thanks for sharing!

    The food blogger next door;)

  • 29 pam // Sep 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    looks like a great recipe, but WHY do you say to start preheating the oven more than an hour before it’s needed???  what a waste.  maybe the oven could be turned on when you start flattening the pitas?

  • 30 Justine // Sep 15, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    I used to have a similar problem with my oven. I kicked it to the curb and got a samsung european convection oven a few months ago and haven’t had an uneven bake yet. Your pita’s look fantastic- now where’s the follow up hummus recipe?

  • 31 Recent Links Tagged With "scraper" - JabberTags // Oct 14, 2008 at 10:04 am

    […] public links >> scraper Pita Bread Saved by natethegreat on Mon 13-10-2008 The Worst Kind of Scraper Sites Saved by ellenquilt on […]

  • 32 Deborah Dowd // Oct 14, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Your pita looks so great!! I have never tried this at home, but you make it sound easy!

  • 33 Niall Harbison // Oct 22, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Those are some good looking pita breads! I know so many people buy them in the shops when they are pre-made but if you actually go to the effort and make them like this it is just so much better (as most things are!). Making bread is one of the most rewarding things to do in the world and I always tell people to start with pita bread because there is so little that you can do to mess it up!  Well done for sharing the recipe, yours look especially good!

  • 34 QL Girl // Oct 23, 2008 at 11:55 am

    um, yeah….I must be an idiot because I did something wrong and did NOT end up with pitas! lol. Its ok though, I’m pretty sure I know what I did wrong, and my friends ended up LOVING my end result. (I’m trying this recipe again soon, I won’t give up!)

  • 35 Jen // Nov 30, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you thank you!  I have been making this recipe tons, and it is easy and tastes great!

  • 36 Jacob // May 1, 2009 at 6:51 am

    While your recipe is sound, I can see you haven’t rolled that many pita.  Well made pita should have an even amount of bread all the way around the pocket.  I can see that your pita has a thin “Skin” on one side instead of the pocket being directly in the middle of the bread.  Next time you are rolling out your pita, don’t let your rolling pin go over the edge of the pita, always keep at least 1/4″ in front of the pin.  If you let the pin roll over the edge you’re essentially “Pinching” the dough which causes the off center pocket with one very thin side.  Try this and I’m sure you’ll be extremely happy with the results. 

    These were a very good try btw, it took me a long time to get my pita perfect.

  • 37 veggie // Nov 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    This looks so much better than store bought pita bread! I find when I buy it, it is always really dry. Is this recipe more moist than store bought? Like what you can get in really good Indian cuisine restauraunts?

  • 38 Giselle // Nov 27, 2009 at 10:48 am

    I made the pitas but they did not fluff up at all.
    They were flat and hard, but still tasty but not at all pita like.
    I did move them from the baking sheet though so would that have been the problem?
    Thank you so much!

  • 39 Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen // Apr 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Wow…these look beautiful! I imagine they’d be lovely with some great chicken salad!

  • 40 Michele // Dec 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I had the same problem as Giselle, my pitas did not puff at all. they were pretty hard discs BUT I didn’t move them from the baking sheet. I followed the recipe to a T. Any suggestions. I will try one more time because it is such an easy recipe and your pitas look amazing.

  • 41 Heghineh // May 19, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Amazing! I’m so glad I found this recipe. Can’t wait to try this.

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