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Homemade Pita Bread
Pita bread (also known as Arabic bread and Syrian bread) is a yeast-leavened flatbread common in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It can be made with or without an interior pocket. Regardless of which route you take, the possibilities are endless—pita stuff falafel, sabich (a sandwich with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, hummus, tahini, and Iraesli salad), shawarma sandwiches, souvlaki sandwiches (usually made with pocketless pita).
Our recipe is intended to make a pita bread with pockets. And originally, we cooked the pita bread on the stovetop in a hot cast iron pan and were delighted with the results. But after reviewing feedback and learning that many people were struggling with this cooking method, we retested the process and decided to bake the pita instead. You'll still need an extremely hot pan (or pizza stone), which you'll preheat in a 500° oven.
Watching the dough puffin the pan is extremely satisfying to say the very least. And the soft, pillowy results will make the whole process worth it.
Tried making our pita? Let us know in the comments and rate it below.
Editor's Note: After reviewing feedback, this recipe was updated with a new cooking process in June 2020. It was also updated to include more background information behind the dish.
active dry yeast
all-purpose flour, divided
extra-virgin olive oil
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar and stir until dissolved. Stir in ½ cup flour and let sit for 15 minutes, until mixture foams.
- Add oil, salt, and 2 cups flour (reserving ½ cup) and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy mass forms. Dust a clean surface with some of reserved flour and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes, adding more of the reserved flour if the dough is too sticky. Dough should be soft and moist. (You can cover the dough and let rest 10 minutes if you need a rest from kneading.)
- Place dough in a clean large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Place a pizza stone or large cast-iron skillet in your oven and preheat to 500°. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Punch down dough and turn it out onto surface. Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll into balls. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes.
- Working one at a time, roll each round into a ¼”-thick circle about 8” wide, sprinkling dough with extra flour if it starts to stick.
- Working as quickly as possible, open your oven and place as many pitas that will fit on your skillet or stone without touching. Let bake until an air pocket balloons and the pita begins to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining rounds.
- Cover baked pitas with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.