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Perfect Homemade Pita Bread: Fluffy Pockets Every Time

Easy and Delicious Homemade Pita Bread Recipe

Master the art of making soft, puffy pita bread at home with this foolproof recipe. Discover the secrets to achieving that coveted pocket every time, perfect for stuffing with your favorite fillings.There’s something magical about watching pita bread puff up in the oven. As it bakes, the dough transforms into a balloon-like shape, creating that signature pocket we all love. While store-bought pitas are convenient, homemade ones are in a league of their own – chewier, more delicate, and bursting with fresh, yeasty aroma.

The Science Behind the Pocket

The pita’s pocket forms due to a combination of structure, moisture, and heat. When the thin disk of dough hits the hot oven surface, two processes begin simultaneously. The intense heat starts to set the dough on the top and bottom while turning the moisture in the center into steam. As steam builds up, it creates pressure, inflating the pita from the inside out. The already-set exterior is strong enough to contain this steam bubble, resulting in that perfect pocket.

Key Tips for Pita Success

1. Knead the Dough Well

Proper kneading develops gluten, giving the dough the elasticity it needs to puff up. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or use a stand mixer with a dough hook for 8 minutes.

2. Roll Thin Pitas

Aim for a thickness of no more than 1/4 inch. This allows the heat to quickly penetrate the center, creating that crucial steam burst before the dough becomes too rigid.

3. Use a Baking Steel and Hot Oven

A scorching hot oven (as high as it will go) and a preheated baking steel or stone are essential for that quick steam formation. Your pitas should puff in just 2-3 minutes.

4. Avoid Tearing the Dough

Be gentle when handling the rolled-out dough to prevent tears, which can create weak points and hinder proper puffing.

5. Flip Before Baking

To ensure even thickness, flip the pita and place it top-side down on the baking surface just before baking.

6. Wrap Immediately After Baking

As soon as the pitas come out of the oven, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel. This traps just enough moisture to keep them pliable without becoming soggy.

7. Finish on the Stovetop

For that authentic charred look and smoky flavor, give your baked pitas a quick sear in a hot cast iron skillet.

Homemade Pita Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water (8 ounces; 240ml), 105–110°F (41–43°C)
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
  • 1 tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (7g) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2 1/2 ounces; 70g)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces; 280g), plus more for dusting

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine water, oil, sugar, yeast, salt, and whole wheat flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add all-purpose flour and mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  2. Knead the dough in the bowl for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. For stand mixer users, knead with the dough hook on low speed for 8 minutes.
  3. Form dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C) with a baking steel or 12-inch cast iron skillet on the top rack. Prepare a plate lined with a large, clean kitchen towel.
  5. Punch down the dough and divide into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover, and rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Roll each dough ball into a 7-inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and let proof for 30 minutes until slightly puffy.
  7. Bake pitas on the preheated steel or skillet for about 3 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden around the edges.
  8. Transfer baked pitas to the towel-lined plate and wrap to keep warm. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. For extra char, briefly heat each side of the pita in a smoking-hot cast iron skillet for about 30 seconds per side.

Notes

The dough should be slightly tacky, not dry. This recipe can be doubled. Pitas can be baked ahead and frozen with parchment between them, wrapped in foil and plastic. Defrost and toast in a skillet before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
242 Calories
3g Fat
47g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 242
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 197mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 13mg 1%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 104mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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