This simple recipe for pita bread is totally perfect. Puffy and beautiful, this pita bread can easily be baked in your own oven.
Straight from a famous Israeli restaurant in Philly, this recipe for pita bread is so worth it. If you have never made bread, this is a very simple way to learn the ins and outs of yeast and to see just how easy it is to make homemade bread.
It was a cold and rainy day 2 Sundays ago in Denver, and since I was making chicken shawarma for Zoe, I thought I’d also make homemade pita bread. Though I have made many different breads, I have never made pita.
After making Zahav’s recipe for pita bread, I know I’ll never be able to buy the flat, plastic bagged version again. This is the real deal and truly I was amazed at just how easy this is.
Zoe, who has eaten at Zahav, said it tastes just like their’s! She said that next time though, I should roll it a bit thinner.
However there is another famous restaurant here in Denver with origins in New Orlean’s and their pita is quite thick. Also delicious. Their pita is baked in a wood fired oven and the home recipe actually requires broiling, rather than baking.
The choice is yours. Thin or thick? Either way, this homemade pita not only makes the house smell incredible, it tastes divine!
Sometimes working with yeast can be a real pain, especially when the recipe requires rolling. Not so with this recipe. A rolling pin is really just used for flattening the dough.
If you’ve ever made pizza dough, you might have felt you were playing tug of war with the dough. Not so, in this case. I can’t stress enough how NOT stressful this is! Even Zoe said she can’t wait to try it!
Some bread dough can be a real P.I.T.A.! But not this pita! I’ve said that a few times already, just to reinforce that thought!
Pita bread is from the Middle East and can be made easily in a home oven without a pizza stone. As long as you preheat your oven to 500 degrees along with an upside down heavy duty baking sheet on the middle rack, you will be able to turn out loaves of puffy pita.
What makes pita puffy?
Placing pita in a very hot oven cooks the bread quickly as the water in the dough creates steam that causes the bread to rise and make a giant pocket. Within three minutes you can open the oven and see beautiful fluffy loaves with the steam billowing out. True magic!
I hope you enjoy this baking experiment. And I also hope you have yeast. Yeast is something I always have on hand, because I do love baking bread. Let me know what you think, but I was truly awed by this pita recipe.
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2 1/2 t active dry yeast (2 1/4 t is in one envelope, so you need a bit more.)
2 t sugar
2 c all purpose flour
2 c bread flour
1 1/2 t kosher salt
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 c water. approximately
Mix together 1/2 c water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. If it doesn’t foam, your yeast is bad or your water was too hot. This recipe only requires water straight from the tap.
In a stand mixer, combine both flours and salt using a dough hook on low speed. I often cover my mixing bowl with a clean dish towel so the flour doesn’t fly everywhere.
Add the yeast mixture, another 1/2 c of water and the oil and mix on low until the dough forms a ball that pulls clear of the sides and bottom of the bowl. If after a minute, the mixture doesn’t form a ball add a tablespoon of water at a time until it does. In Denver because it is so dry, I need to use more water.
The moment the dough pulls clear of the bottom of the bowl, add another 1/2 c of water and continue mixing until incorporated. The dough should feel tacky when slapped with a clean hand, but it should not stick. If it does you need to add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. OR place in refrigerator overnight and bring back to room temperature and let rise. They say this makes the pita more flavorful, but I think it is pretty good as is!
Roll the dough into eight equal sized baseballs. Cover with a cloth and let rise until they are about the size of softballs. This should take no more than 30 minutes.
While dough balls are rising preheat oven to 500 degrees with rack in the middle position. Place a heavy duty baking sheet that is turned upside down to preheat with the oven. OR use a pizza stone.
When dough has finished rising, roll each ball out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Place on baking sheet carefully. I fit three on my baking sheet. You may only be able to fit two.
Bake for three minutes until puffed and cooked through. Serve immediately or let cool and rewarm at about 350 wrapped in foil for about 8 – 10 minutes. Can also be frozen.
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