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 fresh, golden pita bread, hot from the oven, is a revelation; it makes those packaged pitas pale (literally) by comparison. Plus, pita bread is a key element in Fattoush, a delicious Lebanese salad — give it a try sometime.
- 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver*
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
*Optional, but it relaxes the dough, 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.
- Combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy/rough dough.
- Knead the dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by mixer (5 minutes) or by bread machine (set on the dough cycle) till it’s smooth.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it’ll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. If you’ve used a bread machine, simply let the machine complete its cycle.
- 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 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 500°F. (Keep the unrolled pieces of dough covered. Roll out the next batch while the first batch bakes.)
- 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 2 minutes, or until the pitas have browned.
- Remove the pitas from the oven, wrap them in a clean dishtowel (this keeps them soft), and repeat with the remaining dough.
- Store cooled pitas in an airtight container or plastic bag.
Tips from our bakers
- Pita bread can be a bit temperamental; it doesn’t always puff. And when it doesn’t, don’t despair. It’s still soft and delicious.
- For sandwiches, simply wrap a pita around the filling, rather than splitting and filling.