Pita or Pitta Bread is a soft, slightly, leavened flatbread which originated in Mesopotamia around 2500 B.C. It is known as Arabic, Lebanese, or Syrian bread. Most Pita Breads are cooked at high temperature causing the flattened dough to puff up.
When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened to form a pocket. However, pita is sometimes baked without pockets and is called “pocket-less pita”.
Pita Bread is one of the easiest bread recipes I’ve made because the ingredients are so simple as well as the preparation. However, creating the pockets is actually quite a challenge for me, because (1) you need to roll out a perfect thin dough, and (2) distribute the heat evenly for both sides of the pita bread so the dough will puff up.
You know you nailed the perfect pita dough when it looks like this —
A photo posted by Bakedhoven (@bakedhovenbyruth) on
Always do the water+sugar+yeast test before you start making this recipe or any related bread recipes for that matter. Check whether your yeast is still active or proofing (dough rising) won’t take place. And if you are curious how these pockets look like, here’s one sample piece I was able to pull off —
Goodluck! Let me know if you have questions about the recipe! Comment them below!
1 pkg dry active yeast
1 cup warm water (about 90-100 degrees F.)
1 cup (4.5 oz by weight) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons olive/vegetable oil
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
Place yeast into the work bowl of a stand mixer and add 1 cup warm water and 1 cup flour, and 1 egg. Whisk together and let stand 15 to 20 minutes for mixture to rise and make a loose sponge. Mixture will bubble and foam.
Pour 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and salt into sponge; add 1 3/4 cup flour. Mix at low speed, using a dough hook attachment, until dough is soft, supple, and slightly sticky. If dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, a little at a time.
Knead dough with machine on low speed until slightly springy and still soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and form into a ball.
Wipe inside of bowl with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil. Turn dough around in bowl to cover with a thin film of oil; cover bowl with foil and let sit until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Remove dough from bowl and place onto a floured work surface. Lightly pat into a flat shape about 1 inch thick. Use a knife to cut dough into 8 pieces.
Form each piece into a small round ball with a smooth top, pulling dough from the sides and tucking the ends underneath the bottom.
Cover dough balls with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle a small amount of flour on a work surface and top of a dough ball; gently pat dough ball flat with your fingers, forming a flat, round bread about 1/4 inch thick. Let dough round rest for 5 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Brush a cast-iron skillet with remaining 3/4 teaspoon olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Lay pita bread into hot skillet and cook until bread begins to puff up and bottom has brown spots and blisters, about 3 minutes. Flip, cook 2 more minutes, and flip back onto original side to cook for about 30 more seconds. Pita bread will begin to puff up and fill with hot air. Stack cooked breads on a plate; when cool enough to handle, break breads in half and open the pocket inside for stuffing.