I use to buy pita bread then the pandemic hit. Once an item that was always available was suddenly sold out, everywhere. I did the next best thing and started baking pita bread myself, at home. It was a glorious thing. Pillows and pockets of bread any time I wanted it. Why had I waited so long?
I really cannot take all the credit for finally making this recipe at home, as two of my favorite chefs in London had started sharing how to cook videos on Instagram, and one day they shared how to make pita bread. I was shocked at how easy it was, I immediately started measuring and mixing an hour before dinner. Okay, maybe it was really 2 hours before dinner but it is that simple. Literally, I had pita in no time.
I have learned a few things during the pandemic and one of them is to slow down. I was always in a hurry before. Now I have nothing but time. I am learning how to cut my own chickens, make mayonnaise and bread by hand, whipping cream and egg whites in a copper bowl instead of a mixer, and taking my time and learning correct cooking skills. I make this recipe by hand, no mixers are needed but if you really feel like you need to use a mixer go for it.
This recipe is super easy and comes together in no time. It is really fool-proof and works every time. As well it is flavorful and not overly doughy. I hate pita that is too thick and doughy. You all know how Lenny has an opinion about recipes and is my biggest food critic, when I ask him about his favorite meals during the pandemic, hands down he always says this recipe.
This recipe has evolved over the past seven months and I have options for you. See our oven also broke right at the beginning of the pandemic and I was left cooking on the grill and these little pieces of bread on the grill are pretty amazing.
- I have started baking in grams this year as it is more accurate so everything is in this measurement. Baking scales do not cost much at all, I believe mine was about $30.
- Flour – I have had to try other flours during the pandemic as my beloved King Arthur was not available. Since I have fallen in love with Central Milling. I have noticed that different brands of flour produce different pitas – lighter or denser.
- Recipe makes 12 medium-sized pita bread. If you do not need 12, you can half the recipe, it works. Or use it dough over the course of three days. I usually make a batch and use what I need. Fresh pita bread for a few days! Just store it covered in the refrigerator and take out what you need about an hour before baking.
- I prefer medium-sized pita bread as it usually is more pillowy. Just roll the dough a bit thinner before cooking and then it will puff up. I found if I roll the dough a bit smaller and thicker they will not puff up as much but still separate so you can fill with your favorite fillings. You decide on the size.
- You can bake it, grill it, or cook it on the stovetop. All methods work perfectly.
- Baking Pita Bread – preheat the oven to the highest temperature it will go which is 550 on my oven. I use a baking steel (which I use all the time for everything) as I find it bakes the pita bread more evenly.
- Grilling the Pita Bread – preheat the grill to 550 – 600 degrees. Make sure the grate is really clean, nothing worse than leftovers on your freshly grilled pita bread.
- Stove Top Cooking – I use carbon steel or cast iron pan or griddle and get it as hot as I can then cook the pita bread.
- I find they are best eaten within an hour of cooking them. They will keep a day but they probably will not last that long as they are that good. Also, we love them fresh that is why I make a batch of dough and then bake as needed. If you want to store them, place in a Ziploc for a day.
*inspired by Honey & Co
** makes 12 – I prefer to make what we need for a meal and place the remaining dough in the refrigerator. It keeps up to 3 days.
- 500 grams all-purpose flour
- 4 grams of sugar
- 4 grams of salt
- 38 grams instant yeast
- 28 grams of olive oil
- 300 – 400 ml warm water
- Place the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast into a large bowl and whisk to combine. I use a dough whisk but use what you have.
- Begin adding the warm water slowly, along with all of the olive oil and mix until the dough comes together. At times I may or may not need all of the water, again, it depends on the brand of flour. Mix with a dough whisk or your hands until the dough comes together. Knead for a few minutes – it will not be overly sticky.
- Place back into the bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise about an hour. Punch down the dough and give it a gentle knead or two.
- Divide into 12 equal-sized pieces of dough and on a lightly floured surface roll into a smooth ball. Cover with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Refer to the cooking methods above, and prepare which element you will cook with. I prefer the oven with a baking steel or the grill.
- Roll the dough balls into small circles – the larger the circle the more air there will be. Smaller circles will produce a more dense pita but still with a pocket.
- Place the pita, a couple at a time, onto your cooking method. Cook about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Once if puffs and is a little brown then flip over.
- Wrap in a clean towel to keep warm and repeat.