My Recipe Box

How to Make Pita Bread

Like most flatbreads, pita really isn’t difficult to make—it just takes some time for the dough to rise

by Dabney Gough

fromFine Cooking
Issue 93

If you’re making our Greek meze menu and you plan to serve fresh pita with it, you’ll score extra points with your guests if you make the pita yourself using this recipe from author Susanna Hoffman. Like most flatbreads, pita really isn’t difficult to make—it just takes some time for the dough to rise. Your reward is fresh, warm pita bread that beats anything you can buy at the store and a great “look-what-I-made!” feeling as you pull the hot pitas from the oven.

Greek pitas normally don’t have pockets—they’re meant to be wrapped around foods, not stuffed. That said, we found that this recipe has the potential to make some very puffy pocketed pitas, which we liked. Pitas puff and form pockets when the gas produced by the yeast in the dough expands in a hot oven. Sometimes our pitas puffed like balloons, and sometimes they didn’t. We found that the pitas were more likely to puff when we rolled the dough quickly but gently so as to express as little gas as possible, and when we were extra careful transferring the rounds to the baking sheet. It also helped to put each sheet of pitas into the oven when it was in a heating cycle.

Four Key Steps for Making Perfect Pita
Set the dough aside in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size. Gently deflate the dough with your hands, cover, and let it rest. Shape each piece into a rough ball and then put each ball, cup your hand over it, and quickly rotate your hand over the dough. Roll each piece into a 1/8-inch-thick round that's about 7 inches across.

Photos: Scott Phillips

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