Danielle’s Perfect Pita Bread
Homemade pita bread is nothing like the kind you find at your local grocery store. I didn’t realize I even liked pita bread until I had it made fresh for me at a Mediterranean market when living in Europe. This pita recipe is worth taking the time to learn. Its versatility will have you making not only pitas but pizza crusts, burger buns, dinner rolls, calzones, pita chips, and more! This easy recipe can help to liberate you from the preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other questionable ingredients found in commercial bread.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MEASUREMENTS!!
It is always better to weigh flour than it is to rely on the volume measurement of a measuring cup. If you weigh it, your results will always be consistent. If you use a measuring cup, the amount of flour can vary according to how densely you may pack the cup. If you don’t have a scale and must rely on volume measurement, be sure to loosen your flour in the beginning before weighing. I keep mine in half-gallon canning jars, so the flour is easily loosened by shaking.
You can attain the same result by transferring your flour from a bag to a large bowl and stirring it with a wire whisk. Then, take the flour out a heaping tablespoon at a time and gently fill your measuring cup. Do not scoop the flour out with the measuring cup! This will pack the flour and result in more flour than called for in the recipe. Using the back of a knife, rake it across the top of your measuring cup until you have an even cup of flour. Transfer to a mixing bowl and continue this process until you have the right number of cups in your mixing bowl. Now you can put the flour you aren’t using back into your storage bag or container for later use.
Danielle's Perfect Pita Bread
- 10 ounce water warm, filtered (1 1/4 cups by volume)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package/1/4 ounce)
- 4 1/2 oz whole wheat bread flour 1 cup by volume
- 9 oz bread flour 2 cups by volume, plus more for kneading and rolling dough
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional - in fact, I no longer add this to the recipe)
- Add warm water and sugar to a clean bowl. Stir to dissolve.
- Sprinkle yeast over the top of the sugar water and lightly stir until all the particles are wet. It should become frothy within three to ten minutes. If it doesn't, the yeast is bad. Throw out your mixture and begin anew with fresh yeast.
- Once the mixture is frothy, stir in salt. Next stir in the whole wheat flour and the bread flour. With a large wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk, stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured bread board or countertop and knead for five minutes, or until dough is somewhat elastic. It should be tacky but not sticky, nor should it be dry.
- Transfer to a clean bowl with one teaspoon olive oil (optional). Roll the dough in the olive oil to coat the entire surface. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about thirty minutes.
- While the dough is rising, place a large pizza stone or clay baking stone into a cool oven. Preheat to 450º. A large clay stone is desirable for making flatbread because your oven then behaves more like a hot, clay tandoori oven such as you might find in good Indian restaurants. If you don't have a baking stone, you can use a cookie sheet in the same way.
- After the oven has reached 450º and the dough has doubled in size, deflate the dough and divide into six pieces. Roll each of them into a ball, dusting with a little flour to prevent sticking.
- Take one of the balls and flatten it out on a floured surface. Roll to create a six-inch to eight-inch disk between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap until ready to use to prevent drying out. Allow to rest ten minutes before baking.
- Transfer one of the disks to your open palm. Open the oven and slap it onto the baking stone or cookie sheet taking care NOT to touch the stone or any hot surface in the oven. Let it sit for a few seconds before moving it toward the rear of the stone with a spatula.
- The number you can do at one time will be entirely dependent on how large your baking stone is. I have a large round stone which will allow me to prepare three or four at a time. Since this recipe makes six pitas, it is convenient to make three at a time.
- The bread will puff up into balloon shapes. (Occasionally one will burst before completing the baking process or will not rise at all. This is normal and to be expected. They will taste just as good as the ones that rise and will perform equally well as sandwich pockets, pita wedges, or for any purpose requiring pita bread.)
- Cook for about four minutes, then remove with tongs or with a large spatula. Don't wait for the pitas to brown because they may become too crisp!
- Cool on a wire rack while you make the remaining pitas. These will make perfect pockets for sandwiches or to use as flatbread for dips and appetizers.
Below are the equipment and products I used in this recipe. Click on the photo to order yours through my affiliate link with Amazon.com, for which I receive a small advertising fee. Please visit my Store for more information.
Hydrofarm Seedling Heat Mat