Pita Bread

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Pita Bread

star rating (9) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Pita bread is one of those things (like English muffins, like soft pretzels) that most people simply don't think of making. "It's too hard. It won't work. They won't puff up." Baloney. This is just a simple white bread recipe cooked in an unusual way. They will puff up; honest. (And if they don't, so what? You still have oven-fresh, tender pita breads, perfect for serving with salad or pasta.) Fresh, golden pita bread, hot from the oven, is a revelation; it makes those packaged pitas pale (literally) by comparison.

Here's my favorite pita bread recipe. This makes 8 breads; I like to make some into chicken salad sandwiches, but be sure to save three of them to make Fattoush the next day (which I serve with the leftover chicken salad on the side).

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup (8 ounces) water
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) vegetable oil

*Optional, but it relaxes the dough's gluten, allowing you to roll it into pita shapes much more easily. Also, the bit of baking powder in the Relaxer helps puff up the pitas.

Mix and knead the ingredients—by hand (10 minutes), mixer (7 minutes) , or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till it's smooth. Let the dough rest, covered, for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk.

Turn the dough onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll two to four of the pieces into 6" circles (the number of pieces depends on how many rolled-out pieces at a time can fit on your baking sheet). Place the circles on a lightly greased baking sheet and allow them to rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 500°F. (Keep the unrolled pieces of dough covered. Stagger the rolling so that the next batch is ready to go into the oven when the first batch comes out.)

Place the baking sheet on the lowest rack in your oven, and bake the pitas for 5 minutes; they should puff up. (If they haven't puffed up, wait a minute or so longer. If they still haven't puffed, your oven isn't hot enough; raise the heat for the next batch.) Transfer the baking sheet to your oven's middle-to-top rack and bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pitas have browned. Remove the pitas from the oven, wrap them in a clean dish towel (this keeps them soft), and repeat with the remaining dough. Store cooled pitas in an airtight container or plastic bag. Yield: 8 pitas.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 10/22/2013
  • cherylptw from KAF Community
  • The dough was kinda dry once it came together. The flavor of the pita is okay but it is not soft like I was expecting. They will be okay to make pita chips out of but I don't think these will be pliant enough to make a sandwich without cracking. I wouldn't recommend these. Sorry.....
    Thank you for trying this recipe! If you should try it again, add a little more liquid for a softer dough. Elisabeth
  • star rating 10/06/2013
  • Marcia from San Francisco area
  • Delicious! I did swap one cup of whole wheat flour and did not have dough relaxer. It still worked great. They all puffed, but with varying patterns (some huge and all the way to the edge, some just in the center, some in the center and a ring around the edge). All of them delicious.
  • star rating 07/04/2011
  • sue rn from KAF Community
  • These were the best pitas I have ever eaten. I will never buy store bought again. I was easier than I thought, I did not use the easy roll additive, but added about 1/4 tsp of baking powder. I also used 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup of whole wheat Only a few puffed up but it did not matter, they were still delish. I dipped them in my homemade hummus. YUM. Next time I will try and work on getting them to puff better.
  • star rating 05/22/2010
  • Fred from Vermont
  • What's going on when some pitas puff to the sky and the one next to it on the pan stays flat? One reason I want to know is that I like the flat ones as well as those that puff up. The "non-puffers" are wonderful for tearing apart and eating with salad or soup, but I would like to understand what's going on.
    Fred - There are a couple things you may want to pay attention to when doing pitas. 1. Roll an even thickness and not too thin. 2. Allow rolled out dough to rest closer to 30 minutes 3. Bake on a stone or an inverted sheet pan in a very hot preheated oven (oven thermometer is great to have). 4. Do not feel tempted to open the oven to check for puff, steam will escape! Elisabeth @ KAF
  • star rating 04/12/2010
  • Mary Enck from Colorado
  • This looked so delicious compared to the pitas you can buy that seem stale. I tried the recipe and while it seemed simple to me, it just didn't turn out right. The pitas were not as soft as I had hoped and they didn't puff up while baking. Here's what I did that might explain it. When I added the other ingredients to the King Arthur Flour (which I always use) the moisture didn't seem to be enough and the dough was very dry. I kneaded it for the 10 minutes as in the recipe and had to add in several sprinkles of more water as I worked it. The yeast I had on hand was not KA instant yeast. It was a good brand with an expiration date far into the future. It was a fast acting yeast. I noticed while the dough was "resting" for the prescribed hour that it didn't seem to rise except for a tiny bit. I am wondering if this is a problem because of the kind of yeast I used. Does it have to be instant yeast? I really love pita bread and wish this would work as I hope to try this again maybe if I can find instant yeast in my market.
    Mary - I am sorry your first attempt was not successful. By the sounds of it, your dough was probably too dry. Adding the additional water was a good idea, perhaps more was needed to help create a soft and smooth dough. If it was too dry, the pitas will be too dense and not puff as well. You are right in questioning the yeast. Rapid rise is a strain of yeast formulated for one rise only. I am surprised to read your dough did not rise much at all in the first hour. This is when it should perform well. Rapid rise yeast will fail when any further risings are required and will not provide as much oven spring for your baked good. We recommend you use either instant yeast or active dry yeast found in a grocery store near you. If you use active dry, be sure to take some of the liquid to hydrate the yeast first before adding the other ingredients. Try this recipe again sometime! Elisabeth @ KAF
  • star rating 04/24/2009
  • Natalia from North Carolina, USA
  • I've been making this recipe for a few years and they always turn out good!
  • star rating 02/23/2009
  • Liane from Arlington, MA
  • Great recipe! Mine all puffed just fine, except the one my toddler 'rolled' out on his own. Would definitely make again.
  • star rating 01/12/2009
  • sarah from san diego
  • great taste - and the ones that i did roll out properly, did puff up! :)
  • star rating 12/30/2008
  • Kristin from Springfield, VT
  • I wasn't happy with how these turned out. They puffed up fine, I guess, but there was no pocket at all. They still tasted good!
    It takes a little practice to get a nice even roll that produces such a good pocket. Hope you will try the recipe again. MJR @ KAF
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