Pita Bread

Fresh homemade pita -- made with half white, half whole wheat flour -- is easy to make and delicious. Pitas are best when baked on a baking[ stone or on unglazed quarry tiles; you can also place them on a baking sheet.]

Total Time:
4 hr
3 hr 30 min
30 min

16 pitas about 8 inches in dia

  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (approximately 105 degrees F)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • You will need a large bread bowl, a rolling pin, and unglazed quarry tiles or several baking sheets, or alternatively a castiron or other heavy skillet or griddle at least 9 inches in diameter.

  • Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bread bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, then 1 cup white flour. Stir 100 times (one minute) in the same direction to activate the gluten in the flour. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes or as long as 2 hours.

  • Sprinkle salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add white flour, one cup at a time. When the dough is too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bread bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least double in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Gently punch down. Dough can be made ahead to this point and then stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 5 days or less.

  • If at this time you want to save the dough in the refrigerator for baking later, simply wrap it in a plastic bag that is at least three times the size of the dough, pull the bag together, and secure it just at the opening of the bag. This will give the dough a chance to expand when it is in the refrigerator (which it will do). From day to day, simply cut off the amount of dough you need and keep the rest in the refrigerator, for up to one week. The dough will smell slightly fermented after a few days, but this simply improves the taste of the bread. Dough should be brought to room temperature before baking.

  • This amount of dough will make approximately 16 pitas if rolled out into circles approximately 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4-inch thick. You can also of course make smaller breads. Size and shape all depend on you, but for breads of this dimension the following baking tips apply:

  • Place unglazed quarry tiles, or a large baking stone or two baking sheets, on a rack in the bottom third of your oven, leaving a one inch gap all around to allow air to circulate. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough in half, then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide dough into eight equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter. You may wish to roll out all eight before starting to bake. Cover rolled out breads, but do not stack.

  • Bake 2 at a time (or more if your oven is larger) directly on quarry tiles or baking sheets. Bake each bread for 3 or 4 minutes, until the bread has gone into a full "balloon" or until it is starting to turn lightly golden, whichever happens first. If there are seams or dry bits of dough - or for a variety of other reasons - your bread may not go into a full "balloon". Don't worry, it will still taste great. The more you bake pitas the more you will become familiar with all the little tricks and pitfalls, and your breads will more consistently "balloon." But even then, if you're like us, it won't always "balloon" fully and you won't mind because the taste will still be wonderful. When baked, remove, place on a rack for about five minutes to let cool slightly, then wrap breads in a large kitchen towel (this will keep the breads soft). When first half of the dough has been rolled out and baked, repeat for rest of dough, or store in refrigerator for later use, as described above. You can also divide the dough into more, smaller pieces if you wish, to give you smaller breads.

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4.8 14
Small tweak for Max Results This recipe can make great pita. Have played with it a couple times now and have the result I want with tender, airy, crispy, chewy pita with good yeasty flavor as pita should be. My best pita were made at about 525 degrees on my baking stone at 3 mins. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've had varying degrees of success with pita before but this set of directions gave me a perfect batch of ballooned bread! I also didn't have a baking stone so I inverted a cookie sheet and preheated it with the oven. I couldn't be happier! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Best pita bread I ever made!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
great recipe! my husband loves to make these, he actually squeals a bit when they come out all 'poofy' :p the only way i differ is in adding some herbs depending upon what we're eating them with, and bumping the temp on our oven up an extra 25 degrees. but that's probably just our stupid horrible circa-1970 oven talking, probably :p item not reviewed by moderator and published
Good flavor, perfect "puffiness". And I like how the way the recipe allows for keeping the dough in the refrigerator. Fresh pita on demand! The only thing that's not perfect is that they don't brown much. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I LOVE this recipe and I have made it many times. It is so simple. What gives it great flavor is to let the sponge sit a full 8 hours. (I have even left it longer by putting it in the refrigerator. I also like the fact that the dough can be refrigerated for 5 days because it really is best eaten fresh. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Since I didn't have the tiles or baking stones I used two cast iron pans and have never gotten such perfect pillows! As another reviewer said the pita was a little bland BUT the basic recipe is good. My mother always told me to cook a recipe as written the first time and after that play with it, adjust it to my liking. So this recipe is going to be one I happily play with. More salt, herbs, or maybe some garlic or onion powders... item not reviewed by moderator and published
FANTASTIC recipe! No sugar! BONUS for me! First time ever made, this will be my exclusive pita, as the balloon effect and lightly golden was GREAT to see today! Made marinated lamb souvlaki on a bed of red, yellow, green capsicum and red onion in my special way! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was good but not great. I bake breads, etc. all the time. While the technique was good the flavor was lacking in my opinion, but I make naan bread all the time using Greek yogurt in the dough and it is full of flavor maybe that is why I felt this was rather bland. I made homemade gyro meat with it. It puffed up like it is suppose to and texture wise turned out great on my stone. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am impressed. This recipe is easy and versatile. I especially like being able to store the dough and use it later in the week. That is a real time saver. Everyone in the family enjoyed the pita bread. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great recipe, wonderful for storing and having fresh bread daily. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Great Pita. LOVE the whole wheat flavor and the texture was lovely. I'd add a bit more salt next time. I'll be keeping this one and using it again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Takes time,but worth it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Easy, and delicious! Thank you item not reviewed by moderator and published
Love the idea of adding herbs once in awhile. Thank you for the tip!<br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published

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Recipe courtesy of Michael Chiarello