How to Make Perfect Pita Bread Every Time, it’s easier than you think, and you’ll never go back to the stuff in bags again, guaranteed!

All natural easy homemade pita bread

I promised you homemade pita bread when I posted last week’s CRUSHED LENTILS, and here it is: the perfect, easy, user-friendly pita recipe.  It took a few tries to get it just right, but now I’ve got it down, I’ll happily pass it along to you.  We eat vast quantities of hummus in our house, so this recipe is going to be well used.  This is a basic, no skills required bread, but even though it’s a simple process, you’ll still get that primal thrill when you turn flour and water into pillowy rounds of soft, warm bread.  Rip it, cut it, fold it, wrap it, or stuff it — it’s a wonderfully versatile bread.

Pita dough resting

This is nothing like the mass-produced pita bread you find in the supermarket, which is usually dry and a little bit like cardboard.  This bread is soft and chewy, and not at all dry.  I’m going to be using the word soft a lot, I can tell, but that’s what I love about it.  We will definitely experiment with whole grains eventually, but for this first recipe I’m sticking with all purpose flour, I think it makes a more appealing pita.

rolling out pita bread rounds

I used my stand mixer for the 5 minutes of kneading, and that made the whole process a breeze.  That kneading turns a sticky blob into an elastic dough that rolls out easily.  Use the same principle you would for pie dough; you want to start with a round disk, and roll from the center out, constantly shifting your rolling pin around the circle to keep it even.  Don’t fret if you can’t get perfect circles, it doesn’t matter in the least.

pita bread puffing up on the griddle

The dough cooks right on the stove top, on a hot griddle or pan, in just a couple of minutes.  Get the pan hot, at medium high heat, and leave it there.  My gas burner goes from 1 to 7, and I kept it at mark 5.  The dramatic puffing that you see above is a little unreliable…sometimes it puffs, sometimes it doesn’t, but the bread is great either way.  The puffing is what makes the inner pocket, so that you can cut it and open it up, but I don’t generally use my pita that way, and I prefer the thicker, ‘pocketless’ version.

freshly cooked homemade pita bread

The minute they come off the heat you wrap them in a clean kitchen towel. The steam softens the bread and gives it the perfect texture.  When they’re cool, store them in zip lock bags.

How to Make Pita Bread

Yield: makes 6-8 pita

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, at about 100F, or warm but not hot to the touch
  • 2 tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (plus more for coating the dough and oiling the pan)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (fluff the flour before scooping and leveling)

Instructions

  1. Put the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if doing by hand) and sprinkle in the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Blend in the oil and salt, and then mix in the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
  3. Coat the dough lightly with oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic and then a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot for an hour, it will double in bulk.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut it in half, and then cut each half into 3 pieces, so you have 6 total. I like to take each piece and form a round ball, that way it is easier to roll out evenly. Keep the rest of the dough covered as you work with each piece.
  5. Roll out one of the pieces of the dough into approximately a 6 inch round.
  6. Heat a skillet or cast iron pan on medium high until it is hot. My gas range goes from 1 (low) to 7 (high) and I kept the heat at mark 5. Lightly oil the pan for the first piece of dough, but after that you should be fine without adding anything additional.
  7. Lay the round of dough on the hot pan and cook for about 30 seconds, until you start to see bubbles, or lumps, appear. Flip it over and cook for one minute. Then flip it again, and cook for a final minute.
  8. Remove the bread and immediately wrap it in a clean kitchen towel. The steam will keep it soft. While one pita is cooking you can be rolling out the next piece of dough.
  9. Repeat with the rest of the dough, and keep all the pitas stacked inside the towel until they have cooled. Then you can store them in plastic baggies.
http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/how-to-make-perfect-pita-bread-every-time/

Notes:

  • The puffing can be a little bit capricious…if you really want it to puff and make an inner pocket, cut your dough into 8 instead of 6 pieces, and roll them on the thin side.  Make sure your pan is hot.  I prefer the thicker, softer rounds of bread, but it’s up to you.   These can be cooked in the oven, but again, I tried that and wasn’t happy with the results.  The pan gives you more control.

a stack of freshly baked homemade pita bread

This is one of those super satisfying projects.  If you like hummus or other Middle Eastern dips you need to try this recipe.  My husband likes to cut the bread in small triangles and toast them with a brushing of olive oil and a dash of seasoning, but mostly I like to use them as is, to enjoy their wonderful fresh baked quality.  If you want to keep them for a few days, store them in zip lock baggies, in the fridge.  You can freeze them, too, but I really recommend eating them right away!

For a slightly different spin on a Middle Eastern flat bread, try my LAFFA BREAD recipe!

 

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How to Make Perfect Pita Bread Every Time, it's easier than you think, and you'll never go back to the stuff in bags, guaranteed! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

 

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78 Responses to How to Make Perfect Pita Bread Every Time

  1. Lola Garrido says:

    I cannot wait to try this. I love bread. This looks easy. I am usually intimidated by anything with yeast. But this one looks like even I can make. I will let you know how it turns out. The only question I have is the recipe does not state what to do with the yeast I presume you put it into the water with sugar and let bloom?

  2. Shari says:

    The ads on this post are out of control. Had to try 4 times before I could even see your content. Looks like a great recipe but don’t know if I can clear the ads long enough to read it.

    • Sue says:

      Shari do you mind telling me if you were on your phone, or desktop? I definitely want to fix that, sorry!

      • Kara says:

        Same here! On my iPhone – I can’t hardly read your posts because of the ads in the way, and sometimes it just suddenly redirects to an ad page!

      • MB says:

        Agree. Can’t get to the content while using iPhone. I’m in advertising and get the value of it but these pop ups and interstitials actually lose readers for you when done this much. I’ll try again

  3. lucia says:

    made these the other night and they were perfect – thank you. Planning on making again tomorrow but using some of the dough balls for my kids to make into individual pizzas for the oven. I think they would prefer toppings baked on while bread cooks in oven vs. putting toppings onto pan cooked pitas. Recommendations for temp. and cooking time if I put dough with toppings in oven to bake?
    thank you

    • Sue says:

      What a fun idea Lucia ~ I’m going to take a guess and say 400F because pizza usually cooks at pretty high temps ~ let us know how they turn out!

  4. Donna says:

    It seems that when I make pitas that they seem to puff better if I let them sit (covered) for 15-20 minutes after rolling them out.

  5. Cidi says:

    I made these today and they turned out amazing! Only one of them puffed I don’t know why, may be I flipped them too early or too late. They taste so much better than the store bought ones! Thanks for this recipe :)

  6. Jamie says:

    I made these tonight for home made gyros. They turned out great! I’ll be adding this to my recipe book. Thank you!

  7. Debbie says:

    Would love to make them with whole wheat flour, thats the kind we buy and make pita chips from… any ideas on how to make with W/W? do i have to add anything else

  8. Ash says:

    Since I discovered this recipe a few weeks ago I’ve made this a few times, the last time with 2/3 wheat flour and a little bit of honey (maybe 1/2 tablespoon). I also do all the mixing/rising with my bread machine dough cycle, which works great.

    Using it with hummus, for wraps, and mini pizzas.

  9. Jess says:

    This recipe looks great and so easy! I don’t make breads much making and working with dough intimidates me! I was wondering if I can leave the dough to rise for longer than an hour? Thanks!

  10. Kim says:

    Totally amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Jenny Nield says:

    Which attachment do you use on your stand mixer for kneading the dough?

  12. Lynn Cordray says:

    Can the pita bread be frozen if not all is eaten in a day or two?

    • Sue says:

      Yes, pita freezes well, but just be sure you wrap it airtight, like anything you’re going to freeze. And I wouldn’t leave it there too long, but that shouldn’t be a problem, once you make it you’re going to want to have it around all the time :)

    • Nata says:

      OMG, Lynn. My maiden name is Cordray, and my middle name is Lynn! What a coincidence!

  13. Shoshana says:

    Thanks. These are amazing. I was wondering if you know about how many calories per pita round?

    • Sue says:

      I’m so sorry but I don’t, Shoshana. I’m looking into getting nutritional facts set up on the blog, though.

  14. jasmine says:

    Can you do this with out a stand mixer?

  15. Mary says:

    This is going to be a very stupid question but in step one where you say “let that sit for 5 minutes” Do you mean turn on the mixer and let it mix for 5 or just let the yeast sit in the water for 5?

    • Sue says:

      Not stupid at all! I mean let it sit still, without mixing, to allow the yeast to dissolve and start to come alive.

  16. Virginia says:

    Great recipe. Worked perfectly and they were delicious. So much better than supermarket ones.

  17. Natalie says:

    I’ve made this today, and they’re delicious! The only thing I had an issue with was proofing the yeast. You have to add a pinch of sugar, and let it do its thing for about 10 minutes. I also wound up cutting this up into 12 pieces, and I could probably have gone up to 16 for smaller pitas. They cook up perfectly, and I’m really happy I found this simple recipe!

  18. maria says:

    please, could you post the flour in grams too? I always get such different results when i weight the flour…. :)

  19. Amanda says:

    Wow! Thank you :) I’m terrible with yeast bread making & this turned out wonderful. Followed directions to a T. My family loved them. I really surprised myself which says a lot about the recipe!

  20. Maria says:

    A little tip for pita that has gone a bit dry or for the store bought ones .. Dip or rinse with water then throw on a hot pan for a minute on each side. They end up soft and warm.

  21. Barb says:

    Hi! Do you think this finished dough rounds could be premade then frozen until time/day you’re ready to cook and serve (without diminishing the fresh-made taste)?

  22. Crissy says:

    Just made these! The dough was so soft and pliable, did not shrink when rolled, and was easy to work with. My electric range is 1-10 so I set it at a six but noticed burning so 5 was perfect for soft fluffy pita bread. Thanks for the great recipe!

  23. Alyssa S. says:

    I made this tonight. So yummy – thanks! I was thankful that these only needed an hour to rise too, compared to some two hour ones. I ended up using 2.5 cups flour. I think the trick to getting more pockets may be letting them rise briefly (covered) after rolling them before cooking. I wasn’t really going for that though. :)

  24. Nell says:

    Finally! a Pita bread that turns out like the picture. I must say mine were a little darker (burned) but they were still good. This is an easy and very delicious bread.

    • Sue says:

      Yay! I’m always happy to hear this, thanks for the feedback Nell. Next time turn your burner down and you should get perfect results!

  25. Lucie says:

    Finally got to make some today. So easy and so delicious. Served it with Greek salad, tzatziki and chicken souvlaki. Thank you!!!

    • Sue says:

      Thank you for giving me the feedback Lucie, there’s something about making your own bread that is so empowering, glad you liked it!

  26. isea says:

    I just made a bunch of pita the other night using a similar recipe minus active yeast. It’s perfectly fine but I’m curious if adding yeast will make much of a difference? It puffs up like this one, though unevenly.

  27. Ashley says:

    I like pitta bread and it makes a good pizza crust. So I am glad I found this recipe. Thanks!

  28. Thanks for this recipe. I too love hummus but am disappointed at store bought pitas. You’ve totally demystified the process. Thanks so much.

  29. Juztme says:

    Amazing breads! Thanx for the recipe! Abt the fluffing of the bread I think I have an idea….that is when u flip the bread press it down on the side of the bread to make the air inside go through the bread and make it fluff. Won’t work if there is a whole in the bread!

  30. sophie says:

    These look wonderful and i think that we would be eating them by the dozen but is there any chance that you might be able to convert the 3 cups of flour into grams for me. Every website that i go on has a different ratio of cup to grams in flour and then when you recommend fluffing the flour i imagine that changes the weight of the flour in the cup etc. Sorry its just that i felt it was worth asking as i am getting very varied results when trying to convert cups to grams ……
    Thanks

    • Sue says:

      That’s the age old problem, Sophie, I wish we could all get on the same system! I just got out my flour and my scale, fluffed and scooped a cup and it weighs 129 grams, making the 3 cups about 387 grams.

  31. mahrukh says:

    This looks like a great recipe.. I’m definitely gonna try this. Plz tell me if these pitas can b stored( with/ without refrigerator)and utilized by microwave warming after a couple of days or so ?

    • Sue says:

      Yes, you can store them, for sure, just like you would with regular pita, only they won’t last a super long time since they are homemade, without preservatives, etc.

  32. […] How to Make Perfect Pita Bread Every Time […]

  33. Joseph Brazelton says:

    I just made these tonight and they were amazing! I can’t believe how simple they were. I am a man who is not known for his baking abilities and they still turned out better than most restaurants I go to. Thanks for a great recipe!

  34. Darby says:

    I made these last night with black bean dip. Delicious. They bubbled a bit and rose but they didn’t puff up like pita…they just ended up like (delicious) naan. Any idea how to make the pocket on the inside like the one you have in the picture?

    • Sue says:

      The puffing, like I said, is unreliable. Some of mine puffed and some didn’t. Some people say cooking the bread in a very hot oven makes them puff more, but then the bread is drier. The short answer is I think the hotter the heat, the better.

  35. Choclette says:

    A great tutorial, thank you. I’ve made pita bread a few times, but I’ve not got it perfect yet. Could be because I use half wholemeal flour – hmmm! Yours look delicious.

    • Sue says:

      You know I used half whole wheat and half white flour one of the times I made this Choclette and I had the same result, it wasn’t as good.

  36. Susan says:

    I agree with Angie – nothing beats homemade bread. I haven’t made pitas in so long I need to give your recipe a try. They look really good!

  37. Oh I can just taste how warm and delicious these are. I’ve never made pita bread at home. But I totally need to be doing this. Thanks for the recipe!

  38. bellini says:

    I also prefer the ticker pocketless version. Thanks for this foolproof recipe.

  39. I love pita bread and yours does look simply perfect!

  40. Nothing beats the homemade bread! Your pita pockets look awesome, Sue.

  41. It’s so true what you said Sue. The store bought pita is nothing like homemade, really like comparing stuffed animals to the real thing :) These have me wanting a bowl of hummus to dip.

  42. Monique says:

    They look dreamy:-) Looking forward to trying them.

  43. Amy says:

    I’ve made your laffa bread recipe a few times and it is easy and oh so much better than store-bought bread. This one doesn’t call for sugar like the laffa bread does; otherwise I’m not sure what makes the two breads different? I will definitely try this!

    • Sue says:

      That’s a great question…the laffa bread is a slightly different consistency, it’s very stretchy, if that makes sense. And it has more of a burnt flavor from the grilling. Also, I guess, it’s much less regular in shape. But other than that they are, as you say, almost identical. I think it’s two names for basically the same type of bread.

  44. cheri says:

    This is a home run Sue, I have been thinking about making my own pitas for the last 2 weeks, now I have no excuse.

  45. Susan says:

    I am chuckling. This is one day too late. Many years ago, I made some beautiful pitas. Of course, that recipe is gone. So searched and searched and tried making them yesterday. Milk and water made too much liquid and total different consistency than I wanted. It tasted great, but it was more like Ciabatta bread. NOW…I will try your recipe. Thank you.

    • Sue says:

      That’s too bad! It’s funny, isn’t it, how such basic ingredients can morph in so many different directions depending on the details.

  46. I love homemade pitta – they are a world away from the cardboard slippers sold in our supermarkets! these look delicious.

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