Just 4 ingredients...and the salt is optional! Please note that the cooking time includes a 30 minute rising. The kneading times given are for an electric mixer (I use my Bosch), so it will take a little longer if you do it by hand. You can easily turn these into herbed pitas by simply adding in some of your favorite herbs (fresh or dried) while you're kneading the dough. EDITED TO ADD: You need to add only the amount of flour necessary to clean the sides of the bowl. So, you might not need all of the flour listed. Also, this is a flatbread, so it will not rise a lot - not at all like regular yeast bread. It is also important to preheat the oven and just before you put the pitas in, flip them over. That is what causes them to puff. This recipe works very well, we use it all of the time and love it! But, it is one of those that really needs to be followed step by step. You're welcome to zmail me if you have any trouble!!
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Sift together 2 cups of flour and the yeast.
- Add water and salt and mix well.
- Gradually add in the remaining flour just until the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Once this happens, stop adding flour (so, you might not use all the flour the recipe calls for.).
- Knead the dough for about 4 or 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. (While you're kneading, you can get creative and add in some herbs or spices, but only if you want to do that). Be careful not to over-knead the dough.
- Form dough into 10 balls.
- On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-6 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. (Be sure to sprinkle a little flour on both sides to prevent sticking).
- Place on a non-stick baking sheet and allow to rise 30 minutes, or until slightly raised.
- Just before you place the pan in the oven, flip each pita over on its other side.
- Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 5 minutes. (The instant hot heat will help them puff up).
- When the pitas come out of the oven they will be hard, but they will soften as the cool.
- Store them, while they're still warm, in plastic baggies or an airtight container.
- Cut the pitas in half crosswise and stuff with your favorite fillings (beans and rice, taco fixings, thick stews, curries - anything goes).
- Pitas can be reheated in a 350°F oven or in the microwave.
I've been making this pita bread for over a year. Have adapted it a bit, but it was the step by step method that brought immediate success. I bake a batch weekly using 3.5 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour. I make 8 pita breads. To store, once cool, divide them into 2 gallon size freezer bags and store them in the freezer. I remove the amount I need shortly before using and find they defrost quickly and are as fresh and pliable as when first from the oven.
A word of caution, any pinching of the edges of the raw dough will hinder the puffing process, so be very careful when moving them from the resting position to the baking tray. And be sure the oven is really hot before baking.
I rest the dough between tea towels for the 30 min rise and then slide my hand under the tea towel to move the rounds onto the baking sheet, flipping them over as I do that. The end product is almost picture perfect (most times). But even an odd shape doesn't affect the flavor.
Oh my goodness, these pitas are fabulous - and the recipe is so easy! I do admit I changed the mixing order - I let the yeast & water get foamy together, then added in the flour & salt. I didn't get very much flour into my batch - less than 3 cups, but it was cleaning the sides of the bowl, so I stopped. They rolled easily, were easy to turn over before baking, and it was very handy to leave them right on the baking sheet to bake. (I've always baked on a pre-heated stone before and had to transfer them.) 5 minutes in the oven was perfect and they puffed up like crazy. I put them in a covered bowl to steam while they cooled. The taste and texture are out of this world. I can't thank you enough for this great and healthy recipe!
I also took the advise to use less flour and my pitas turned out great. They puffed right up and are chewy and yummy! My advise is to not forget to turn the pitas over before putting them into the oven--they will not puff up into a pocket if you don't.