You won’t believe how simple it is to whip up a batch of homemade Pita Bread using only a few common pantry items. They’re better than the ones you can buy in the store because they’re soft and fluffy and have a big hole in the middle.
A freshly baked pita bread, soft and fluffy from the oven, can’t be beaten. You won’t believe how simple it is to make this bread from scratch; it’s so incredibly soft and pillowy. A few simple pantry staples are all that’s required. The dough can be made without the use of a mixer.
There are countless ways to enjoy pita, making this a very adaptable recipe. Try them stuffed with falafel or chicken shawarma, dipped in my recipe for beet hummus, or baked into pita chips. The pita bread can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer for later use. If you give this recipe a shot, you won’t be disappointed.
Ingredients for this dish
- Yeast, use only active yeast. Always make sure your yeast hasn’t passed its use-by date. If you are unsure of the yeast’s freshness or if the packet has expired, you should buy a new one.
- Granulated sugar; activating yeast by adding it to a mixture.
- The flour I use all-purpose flour because it helps the pitas stay soft.
- The addition of olive oil to the dough will result in a softer crumb and crust. It improves the taste slightly as well.
MEASUREMENTS FOR THE INGREDIENTS
- ▢1 cup warm water (105 to 110F) (240mL)
- ▢1 (0.25-oz.) packet active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- ▢½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ▢3 cups all-purpose flour divided, plus additional for dusting (360g)
- ▢2 tablespoons olive oil
- ▢1 teaspoon salt
PITA BREAD: THE RECIPE
- The yeast, sugar, and warm water should be mixed together in the dough hook of a stand mixer.
- Blend in a half cup of flour by whisking. Place in a warm, draft-free area and leave out of the fridge until bubbly.
- Stir in the olive oil, salt, and remaining 2½ cups flour until a shaggy dough forms. Knead the dough using the mixer’s lowest speed.
- Wrap in a towel and take a nap. You can also use a wooden spoon and work the dough with your hands.
- Bring the pita bread dough back to a smooth and elastic state by kneading it. Put the dough in a large bowl and grease the bowl lightly. Allow rising in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap).
- While that’s happening, get your oven ready by placing a pizza stone, heavy baking sheet, or large cast-iron skillet on the bottom rack and turning the oven on to its highest setting. The dough should be punched down and turned out onto a floured surface after it has risen. Cut the dough into eight even pieces.
- Form small balls out of the dough scraps.
- Let the dough balls rest under a towel for a while.
- Roll each out into a 6-inch circle on a surface dusted with flour.
- In batches of one or two, bake dough circles on the hot stone until puffed, about 2 minutes. Flip and bake for another 2 minutes, or until the underside is pale and the top is puffed. With the remaining dough, proceed as before. It’s fine to serve either hot or cold.
Expert Advice on Preparing This Dish
- Make sure you have plenty of room to reach the bottom shelf. To make more room on the stone, raise the second oven rack to its highest possible position or remove it entirely.
- Make sure your water is just the right temperature. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast, while water that is too cold will prevent the yeast from activating.
- For the most precise results, weigh your flour before measuring. Fluff your flour with a spoon, then spoon it into your cups, and level it off with a knife if you don’t have a scale. This is the most accurate way to measure flour and prevent using too much flour in the recipe. Too much flour prevents the dough from rising, resulting in flat pita bread.
- Only use one rack in the oven. If you use both oven racks, one rack of pita bread will cook faster than the other due to the uneven heat distribution inside the oven. If you have to open the oven frequently to accommodate the two different times, the bread will bake unevenly because the heat will escape.
- Flour the work surface before rolling out the dough. Dough that sticks to the rolling surface is more likely to tear, which let’s steam out during baking and reduces the bread’s rise.
- Evenly spread the dough out as you roll it. This is very important because it helps ensure that the pita separates in the oven equally.
My pita bread didn’t rise; what gave?
Pita bread needs to be moist so that it can rise while baking. If your dough is too dry due to too much flour, the bread won’t puff up. In addition, the dough should have a healthy amount of gluten. Make sure to knead the dough until it feels soft but stretchy. By doing so, the bread is given room to expand while baking. Last but not least, the dough shouldn’t be too thick before going into the oven. Roll it out as thinly and uniformly as possible. Bread won’t rise properly if the dough is too thick because it will be too heavy, and the crust will form before the bread can absorb enough steam to rise.
What is the best way to keep leftovers?
Pita bread is best warm and fresh from the oven, but leftovers are always appreciated. Bread should be allowed to come to room temperature before being transferred to a zip-top container for storage. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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