Fresh Pita – the fastest bread in the land!

pita

(photo by Mark Luinenburg from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

Pita bread is a simple, unadorned flatbread that dates back to antiquity. You simply roll out your favorite non-enriched dough as thin as possible and bake it on a hot stone. There is no resting time or other ingredients to prepare, so you can have it in a matter of moments. Despite its simplicity pita is one of the tastiest breads we make. Perhaps it is all of the surface area and the soft chewy crumb? This time of year I bake the pita on a hot baking stone in the oven (without steam), but in the summer I make it on the grill directly on the grate.

Happy Birthday Jeff, I hope you are enjoying the beach!!!

pita

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Roll out a 1/2-pound piece of dough as thin as you can get it, using a rolling pin. If the dough is springing back when you try to roll it out, just step away from it for a moment or two. When you return the gluten in the dough will have relaxed and the dough will roll out easily. The thinner you roll the dough the more likely it is to puff.

pita

Transfer the dough to a flour covered pizza peel and slip the dough quickly onto the preheated baking stone. No steam is required for baking pita.

giant-pita-01

The dough will begin to puff within minutes and is finished when it just begins to take on a little color. Traditional pita is very pale and soft so don’t let it go much more than 8 minutes.

pita

Remove from oven and immediately wrap the pita in a clean kitchen towel. This traps the steam and keeps the pita soft. If you do not wrap the pita in a cloth it will be crisp.

pita

You can stuff the pita for sandwiches or cut into wedges to dip in to hummus. Because of the thinness of the bread it is best eaten fresh. You can make them ahead and freeze them as soon as they cool. The left over pita is also wonderful in our fattoush salad on page 166 of ABin5 (click here to purchase the book).

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96 thoughts on “Fresh Pita – the fastest bread in the land!

  1. How funny you should blog about this just now. I tried making these just for fun from the master dough a couple days ago and they turned out excellent! I’m lovin’ my Abin5.

  2. Hi Zoe and Jeff – I make these in a teflon frypan too, preheat a teflon pan to medium – pinch off a fist size of dough, roll out, put the dough in the frypan, COVER, cook on one side, turn over, COVER. The lid should fit fairly snug on the pan. It creates some steam/moisture. It only takes a few tries to get them perfect, no need to heat the oven. HINT: wipe the pan clean of flour between pitas, because the flour turns brown.

    I’ve not bought one wrap since I found your recipe. I’ve also blended sundried tomatoes into the water when making a batch of dough – and also basil, these make colorful green and red ones.

  3. I don’t get it–every time I “step back for a moment or two” it *still* doesn’t roll out. Even 5 minutes it barely moves any further. I’ve never been able to get dough to relax as much as people say it should.

    I keep my house at 68 (colder in the morning as it warms us, whem I’m usually baking). Will this coolness have an impact. (Although this morning it was after the house warmed up….) I’ve thought about using a heating pad under the resting dough, but I’ve been using a thick cutting board instead of a peel, so I don’t think the heat would transfer very well. But if I had a peel, would the warmth help it relax more? Or do I just need more time?

    I really want to make pita!

  4. Hi AnnMarie,

    You just have some very active gluten in your dough. The cool temp in your kitchen may be playing a part too. Just give it some more time. I often suggest to people they get themselves a glass of wine or tea and just relax. ;) It will happen, I promise.

    Are you using a higher protein flour by any chance?

    Thanks! Zoë

  5. Hi Zoe and Jeff,I´m writing from Iceland.I got your book last week and I am soo very excited about it,I keep dreaming about recipes,I like it very much and my hubby is very impressed with all the recipes I try. I´m very happy to know that there will be a second book.
    I love croissants and pain au chocolat and I keep thinking about shortcuts to get to that flaky pastry,I love experimenting.
    thanks for you great book
    Maria

  6. This is fabulous! Which dough recipe is best in this application? The Master Recipe? My kids will love this!

  7. Oh how I pine for your bread & book. My son & I are allergic to baker’s yeast so we have a little problem. I love to hear everyone twitter about how lovely their bread are with your book. Congratulations!

  8. Follow Jeff’s link to the Turkish Pita with black and white sesame seeds – I made this and then served with EVOO infused with chopped garlic and shredded parm – out of this world!!

  9. I love your book! I got it a few weeks ago and have made pretzels using the bagel dough, and have also made pizza crust using the light wheat dough. Both have turned out fantastic. My mom has made the english muffins and baguettes and caramel rolls using the master dough recipe. We both are very happy with your book and the results!!

  10. I made individual pitas with the light whole wheat dough. We melted mozzarella cheese in the bottom of them, stuffed Romaine lettuce in them, along with tomato slices, cuke slices, and green pepper slices. We poured a little Italian dressing on top and the whole family loved them. Thank you for the great recipes! We are having a lot of fun trying all of them.

  11. I’ve just found that a a plastic 6-qt shoe box (bought new for $1)is just the right size for the dough. I was making bread at my son’s house, he didn’t have a container, so the Dollar Store was the nearest solution!

  12. This is great–thank you! When you posted this I had some Master Recipe so I made some pitas–I found I only needed to cook for 7 min (maybe a touch less); 8 min was a bit too crispy. Of course it will vary from oven to oven.

    Today I made it with 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich dough (made according to recipe except I added some wheat gluten and a bit of extra water to make sure the dough stayed wet enough with the VWG added. Also, it was White Whole Wheat flour.) I used the griddle them on my stovetop. It seems medium high is a good temperature. And honestly, I think I prefer them to the Master Recipe pitas! The wheat has a tendency to stay so soft, which is great for pita. I just ate a bunch with some homemade hummus, and it made a nice, simple dinner.

    Thanks again; I love your book and blog!

  13. WOW talk about a forgiving method of bread-baking!
    I have been making ABin5 bread for a couple of months now (haven’t had store bread since early Dec)- I decided to do some serious recipe tweaking – using the light whole wheat recipe, I substituted 1/2 c flax meal and 1/2 c oat bran for a 1 cup of AP. I held back on 1/2 cup AP to compensate for potential dryness due to so many whole grains. Also added a couple tsp of raw sugar. When I started mixing it together it was so dry I couldn’t incorporate the flour and so started adding a small splashes of water and mixing and mixing – then I realized that I had only added 1 1/2 cups water instead of the normal 3 in the first place! (senior moment, I guess!) So then I added about another 3/4 cup of water and used both hands to squeeze and mix – it was akin to mixing wall plaster. I almost gave up and dumped it, but got it mixed to the shaggy wet consistency I am used to and left it to proof. Lo and behold, it did it’s thing at room temp and I stowed it in the frig. Today the dough was quite dry and unelastic, but I made a couple of boules and they had great oven spring, were crusty, moist and delicious. I was amazed – I thought I had done it in for sure. Sorry for being long-winded, but I can’t say enough about this wonderful method.

  14. Beth: Thanks for the great WW suggestions– you’re anticipating our followup book. My pitas are also about 7 min, in my oven on my stone at 500 F.

    Amy: Great story. You can usually get away with anything. Thank you so much!

  15. Hi,
    Got your book for Valentine’s Day and am on my second batch now of the master recipe. I’m going to be making a curry this week and I was wondering if there’s a way to adapt the pita recipe to make na’an bread. I know na’an is traditionally baked in the tikka oven, so I won’t get that flavor, but are there other differences? Thanks so much for the great book and ideas!

  16. Annalisa: We have a naan recipe in the book, but it’s one that we haven’t yet released on the web. Ours is pan-baked with some ghee– similar result but a very different approach– strictly speaking our “naan” is a “paratha” (flatbread made in a pan with ghee, on the stovetop).

  17. Hi again, Jeff and Zoe –
    Pita is our the favorite in our household! 5 minutes to perfect, consistent, deliciousness.
    I did the lazy method (using the remnants of the former batch in my 6qt bucket), and bread flour – the pita were stunning – chewy and with that perfect sourdough nose!
    I roll them out longer rather than in a circle, to get deeper pockets for more of any filling under the sun.
    Yum. Thanks again!

  18. After reading this entry, I was inspired to make pita for the first time. What fun! I love how it puffs up like a little piilow. 6-7 minutes is plenty (not much color, but longer than that and it gets too hard on the edges. Anyway, I stuffed the pita with my faboo homemade hummus (secret ingredient: a little extra tahini!). I also brushed some with olive oil and topped it with za’atar.

    I used the boule recipe, but wonder if you’ll be including a more whole-wheat dough for pita in the new book.

  19. Hi, Jeff & Zoe! First of all, I have to say thanks for making a baker out of me! I have NEVER been able to manage homemade bread despite numerous attempts and a pricey bread-machine. Since buying your book, though, I’ve made two batches of master recipe dough and every loaf has turned out wonderfully. You’d almost think I knew what I was doing!

    I had an idea for your new book that might help other non-bakers like me — with each recipe give us a photo of the finished bread (and it doesn’t even have to be in-color or large), just to help us get the idea of what its shape should be. Some of the breads in the book I’ve never heard of, and I’ve no clue how they should look. Written cues for shaping are great, but there’s no substitute for a visual aid! :-)

    Thanks so much for a great book that is such fun to explore! I’m looking forward to book two!

  20. Love your book and I have a couple of Questions:

    1. What’s the best way to incorporate something like olives into dough that’s already made? I want to use my olive oil dough to make olive bread.

    2. Can you make a boule from the olive oil dough, or is it too soft to hold it’s shape?

    3. How do you pronounce boule? I thought it was “boo-lay” but on a You Tube video I heard someone pronounce it as “boo-lee”. Which is correct?

  21. I checked the book out from the library this last week and made the master recipe on Friday and Saturday night the hubby and I enjoyed the best fresh baked bread I’ve ever done for dinner.

    I then made a batch of the Olive Oil bread yesterday and I am looking forward to using it for pizza tonight.

    Thanks for the book, I am so looking forward to not having to hit the grocery store for expensive bread when it is so easy to have it fresh at home. I’ll be picking up my own copy of the book asap as I am sure the library will want it back sometime LOL

  22. We baked this pita with my daughter’s kindergarten class last year. It was a hit – especially with the teachers. Our favorite adult variation is to drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar before baking. The pita doesn’t puff much but it tastes great.

  23. Petra: Yep, WW pitas in the new book, but you can start experimenting now. The whole grain doughs in AB5 work under this method, though they don’t puff quite so much.

    Julia: I’m with you, Julia, wish we’d had more pix. But first-time authors are unlikely to get a high-budget book, and we were no exception… the publisher allotted us the 8 pages of color and 20 of B&W. We have double that in the 2nd book though!

    Janknitz: Best way to incorp olives is to roll it out, roll in the olives, then roll back up and form a ball. Allow to rest 90 min before baking.

    Olive oil dough should make a nice boule, but it may flatten a bit (it’s BOOL, rhymes with pool).

    JeanC: Thanks for the kind words!

    Rocky: Yes, the more you load on top, the less it puffs. Like pizza.

  24. I made many pitas this weekend and had very little success with getting them to poof. Eventually, I realized I was taking your advice (“The thinner you roll the dough the more likely it is to puff.”)to the extreme. I started making them thicker, and it worked great. So, just a caution: you can make them too thin.

    Thanks for the great book & website!

  25. I 100% LOVE your method. I have always cooked, but baking anything more then a mix and dump recipe intimidated me. I just chalked it up to the old adage that you either bake -or- cook. But I saw you two on You Tube, gave it a try, and now I make bread everyday. The book is still on its way from Amazon, and I can’t wait to start doing more. I have tried the Basic Master Recipe with 2 cups whole wheat subed in, the challah in the braid and the turban, and today I made pita (except I fried it in the iron skillet in ghee so it was more like Naan). I am going to teach my Aunts kids next! Thank you , Thank you for making fresh bread possible for me. My only fear is that I am going to become like Johnny Appleseed and start giving out your book as gifts at every opportunity.

  26. I made these for lunch today and they received high praise from my husband and nephew – both of whom are Greek : )

  27. Thanks for sharing your great secret and recipes. I just got my copy from Amazon and I love it!

    One question though: many recipes call for 1 1/2 Tablespoon of salt. I just found this is a bit too much sodium as some of our family members need to restrict sodium in their diet. I used Half Salt, but it’s still too much sodium for them.

    So besides using Half Salt, can the amount of salt be cut down a bit without affecting the texture (flavor-wise, we’re totally okay with no salt)?

    Thanks in advance!

  28. If there was an official ratio for easiest prep / most professional results I think the pitas would be the champion. So easy, so good.

  29. Hi Shawna,

    Just make sure that your dough is about 1/8-inch thick. Too thick and it won’t puff well.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes!

    Zoë

  30. I’ve made the pita bread several times now and am so pleased with how it turns out!

    Question: I’ve made the basic boule several time now, and I’ve finally got the altitude adjustments down. The loaf comes out wonderfully, but it doesn’t stay that way. What is the best way to store this bread for a few days while I eat it?

  31. Hi Heidi,

    This is a subject for much debate. We recommend baking enough bread to eat in one sitting and that way you always have fresh! We know this is not always convenient for people. I just stand the cut side of the bread on my cutting board and leave it uncovered. I can do this for about a day, maybe two. The other way is to freeze the loaf and recrisp when ready to eat.

    Enjoy! Zoë

  32. I am gluten intolerant, could this receipe be made with Pamela’s mix instead? Or do you have any other ideas? Thanks for your help.

  33. Hi Nan,

    I’m not familiar with Pamela’s mix?

    We have a second book coming out this fall and we’ve dedicated a chapter to baking with gluten free ingredients.

    Thank you! Zoë

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