Pita bread is just the right size for a sandwich. Better than a bun, it doesn’t get soggy when loaded down with tzatziki, hummus, or lamb and hot sauce. This pita bread recipe is a must for gyros, donairs, and schwarma. And it’s pretty quick to make. You don’t even need to wait for the dough to rise a second time before you bake it.
Tips for the best Pita Bread Recipe
But baking pita bread has a few pitfalls. It does require constant attention while you roll it out and bake it. The dough must be rolled thinly and not folded, or the pita won’t make a pocket.
Generally, if you want crispy pitas with thin walled pockets, you’ll roll them very thinly. If you want them a little thicker and softer, you’ll roll them less thinly. There is a point though where the pitas are too thick to puff in the oven. About a quarter inch thick seems to be about right. Thicker than that and your pita will become naan bread.
The oven must be hot. At 2700 feet elevation my oven must be 500F. If you are at sea level you may want your oven a little hotter than that. The thing that makes the pitas rise in the oven is the build up of steam inside the dough. The faster the steam rises the better the pitas puff. So a high heat lets the steam rise faster. But if the heat of the oven is too high, the pitas burn before they rise, so you’ll need to find the perfect balance for your elevation and humidity levels.
Pitas bake on both sides. Bake them for 3 minutes on the first side. Once they are puffed, flip them and bake them for 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. For a softer pita, just cook them on one side.
Easy Pita Bread Recipe
Yield: 16 pitas
1 cup of water at 100F
1 tbsp. bread yeast
1 tbsp. organic sugar or honey
1/2 tsp. Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups of unbleached, organic all-purpose flour
Put water, yeast, and sugar or honey in a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Stir to dissolve the yeast. Prove the yeast by letting it get bubbly in the cup.
Pour the yeast into a mixing bowl. Add salt, olive oil, egg and 1 cup of flour to the mixing bowl and mix well until the batter is smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing with the dough hook on your stand mixer, (or by hand) until all the flour has been incorporated. Mix with the dough hook, or knead by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough will be soft. Don’t add more flour.
Cover the bowl and let it rise at room temperature for 40 minutes, or until the dough is triple in bulk.
Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Cover the pieces with a cloth to keep them from drying out. Working with one piece at a time, roll out the dough into a thin round about 7 inches in diameter.
Preheat oven to 500F. Place a heavy baking sheet in the oven and preheat the baking sheet. When the oven is up to temperature remove the baking sheet.
Flour the baking sheet but don’t oil or grease it.
Place 3 rounds of dough on the hot baking sheet and place it in the oven. Set a timer for 3 minutes.
Turn the pitas and bake the second side for 2 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven. Transfer the pitas to a covered plate and cover with a towel to hold in the steam. This prevents the pitas from drying out.
Repeat with the remaining dough until all 16 pitas are done.
To Serve this Pita Bread Recipe
Use it in the place of sandwich bread or rolls
If you prefer a whole wheat pita bread recipe see this post.