Anyone can make this fluffy, soft, warm and traditional Mediterranean bread. Once you bake it at home, you will not purchase from the store.
My love for Pita Bread is as old as I can remember. I grew up in Saudi Arabia and always had the pleasure to enjoy pita bread with most of the meals. It is a staple Arabian bread. It is as important to Arabs as Naan is to Pakistani and Indians. The pita bread is also known as the Arabic bread, Greek bread or the Syrian bread.
The bread is fluffy and puffy and has pockets that can be filled with the filling of your choice, such as falafel, hummus or shawarma meat. While the bread might look daunting to bake, but it is one of the easiest things you will bake in your kitchen and feel proud of yourself. If you are a fan of quick breads as well, have a look at my Peanut Butter Bread and Apple Praline Bread on the blog.
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history of pita bread
Pita bread originated back in the Middle East and its history of origination goes back to 4000 years. Yeah, it is that old. It is said people in that region have been eating the pita bread since thousands of years and it is still a staple of Arabian food and now famous all across the world.
Anything – yes, you can have your fresh pita basket ready on the table and enjoy it with any meal. For Pakistanis and Indians, we have it with a variety of curries. They go well with any soups, grilled vegetables, meat balls or any dip such as salsa or hummus.
ingredients for homemade pita bread
You just need a few basic ingredients in this recipe, readily available in your pantry.
- All Purpose Flour
- Instant Yeast
- Olive Oil
You can either bake this puffy bread in a very hot oven or use a skillet to cook them on the stove. I usually like to cook them on the stove. It is easy, simple and you get a batch of 10 – 14 breads done within minutes. If you would like to use oven pre-heat the oven at 500 F. Roll the pita bread and be sure they are ¼ - ⅛s inch thick and about 6 inch in diameter. Place them in a baking sheet or pizza stone and bake for about 3 minutes. And there you go – voila.
There is a difference that you will get in the result. If you bake in the oven, the pitas will puff up more and will have a visible pocket, however, the color will be pale. On the other side the pitas done of the stoves will be much tasty and will have visible toasted spots on the surface. But you might not be able to achieve the pockets. So, if you are a pita pocket-lover, bake them and if you want to go for a better tasting bread with visible cook marks on the bread, go for the stove method. My personal choice is cooking on the stove.
Yes – proofing twice is necessary for this recipe. After the first proofing, divide the dough in equal parts (this recipe makes 10 balls). Shape each ball and put them on a lightly floured surface and cover with a damp water cloth. Leave for 10 – 15 minutes. This will allow the dough to rest and to bake wonderfully in the oven later.
No – do not roll these pita breads thinner. You would want to keep them around ¼ inch in thickness in order to achieve the pita pocket that we all crave for.
Absolutely, you can do it. All you need to do it have a bigger baking sheet or a pizza stone and feel free to bake a batch of 3 – 4 breads at a time.
Yes, if you want to bake a bigger batch, use twice the measurements for each ingredient and you should be able to achieve the same result.
Yes, I do it all the time. Give the dough the first proof as instructed, deflate the dough down, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can freeze it for up to a month.
Well, putting together the dough is fairly simple. You can easily do it by hands or by using a stand mixer with the hook and knead it simply for 8-minutes. If you are kneading by hands, knead for about 10-minutes.
Just be careful that the texture of this dough should be a little tacky. When you will start kneading you will feel it is very sticky, but keep kneading and you will see that the dough will become less and less sticky and more.
how to store
On the Counter: Storing the pita bread is easy. It will stay fresh in an air-tight container or a Zip-loc bag for 3 – 4 days.
In the Freezer: The bread can be stored in the freezer for about 3 months.
related bread recipes
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Homemade Pita Bread
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (480 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt (10 grams)
- ½ teaspoon sugar (2 grams)
- 2 teaspoon instant yeast (6.2 grams)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil (27 grams) extra virgin
- 2 tablespoon yogurt (31 grams) room temperature
- 1 cup water (237 ml) lukewarm
- Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water with sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes. See if there are bubbles on the yeast. This is to check if yeast is correct.
- Sift the flour in the electric mixer bowl and set the mixer with dough hook. AddSalt, olive oil and yogurt in the flour. Add the yeast mixture and knead with ¾ cup water enough to gel the dough together. Knead it for at least 8 minutes on medium speed. You want to make sure that the dough is a little softer and not too hard.
- Gather the dough in your hand. Drizzle the bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and coat the dough in the oil from all sides. Cover it with a fresh cloth or plastic wrap.
- Rest the dough for about an hour or two until it is double in size. I usually keep the bowl at 95 F for about an hour in my oven, works like a charm every time.
- Punchdown the dough and make 8 equal sized balls. Each ball will be around 100 grams in weight.
- Put a damp cloth over the balls and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Put a cast iron skillet on the stove at medium high heat. To test if the skillet is ready drizzle a few drops of water on the pan, it should sizzle.
- Takeout a ball, let the rest cover in the damp cloth (this is to avoid them developing a layer on the top). Roll out the ball for about 6-inch diameter. The thickness of the pita bread should be around quarter inch thick.
- Place the pita bread on the skillet. When you notice the top has started developing small bubbles, change the side. Keep lightly pressing the pita bread with a flat spoon or a clean dishtowel.
- The bread is ready when the color is brown and you see the marks on the bread.
- Put it in a basket and cover it with a cloth. Serve hot.
BakingPita Bread in the Oven:
- Pre-heat the oven at 500 F. Place the baking stone in the oven and let it heat for about 5 – 7 minutes.
- In the meantime, roll out the pita breads and place them on the baking stone or a baking tray. Baking stone will give a better result.
- The bread will be ready and puff up in about 3 – 5 minutes.