Pita Bread

Pita Bread
Pita Bread Header

Pita bread is a yeast-leavened flatbread. The Greek version has no pocket while the pocket ones are also known as Lebanese, Arabic, or Syrian Bread. The pocket is caused by extremely high heat that evaporates the water causing steam, this creates a pocket or a pita that will puff up.

Frontier Lebanese Pita Bread Ingredients

Enriched Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Oat Hull Fibre, Salt, Propylene Glycol, Canola oil, Sugar, Calcium Propionate, Vegetable Monoglycerides, Sorbic Acid.

Lebanese Pita Bread
Lebanese Pita Bread

Pita Bread Size

Pita Bread is typically around 9 inches in diameter. I find that a dough weight of 90 g rolled out is ideal. You can go more for thicker Flat bread.

Two Types of Pita Bread

Dry

If you want Pockets and/or drier Pitas as you find in the stores, cook them in the oven on a Pizza Stone. The oven heat is a lot hotter and dries out the bread overall and faster. This is the same as the store-bought Pita Breads. They get stacked slightly overlapping as to not steam while cooling.

Once they are puffed leave them in there for about 30 seconds or so before pulling them out. Once they are completely cooled, cover them with a plastic bag. Be careful when handling any pita bread that is puffy, the steam inside if it hits your hand can burn.

Soft & Chewy

For Soft and Chewy, cook them on the Stove Top on medium heat and then stack them directly on top of each other. Flipping the stack once in a while. This causes the Hot Pitas to steam the others that it is in contact with, resulting in Soft & Chewy Bread. Once they have cooled down but are still warm, wrap them in a plastic bag.

Greek vs Lebanese Pita Bread

Greek Pita Bread tends to be more bread-like and much thicker, think Naan style. While Lebanese is much thinner and chewier. The Greek version does not have pockets. These are found in Lebanese or Syrian Bread.

How to get pockets in Pita bread

In order to get pockets, there has to be a good amount of Heat that in effect steams the water, creating a pocket. The Pita bread also needs to be relatively thin.

Doing this in the oven is easier than on the stovetop. In the oven, almost all will create a pocket. On the Stovetop it’s hit or miss because you have to regulate the heat. Although if you are trying for Pockets on the stovetop, there’s a technique used to assist in doing so that is used for the Stovetop cook method.

For the oven method, preheat the oven to the highest setting it will go with the rack in the lowest or second-lowest position and a pizza stone in place. Cooking your Pitas this way pretty much guarantees pita pocket every time. In some cases, the dough may break releasing the air before it has had a chance to create a full pocket.

Pita Bread with Air Pocket
Pita Bread with Air Pocket

How to Make Pita Bread

Combine the Water & Yeast and mix well. Add Yeast and an equal amount of Flour as water. Mix well and let this proof. This is the slurry mix and will fully saturate the flour creating good gluten bonding.

Afterward, add the remaining Flour, Salt, and JAH Poly Flour. Knead well and add more flour to achieve a somewhat tacky dough. Let this rise again until doubled in size.

Then shape the dough balls into 90 g. I find this weight works best. You could go larger for puffier. Cover the dough and allow to rest a few minutes. About 20 minutes.

On a floured surface, flatten and roll out thin to the pot lid size to cut the circular Dough, about a 9-inch diameter. Shake off excess flour and cook using the stove or stovetop.

If you find that the dough stretched back too much when rolling out, leave the dough rest a bit longer.

JAH Poly Flour also contains the same ingredients typically found in Pita bread (Flour, Sugar, Salt, Fat) with the addition of Baking powder. This seems to create a tender product and breaks down the larger air bubbles into smaller ones creating a very nice texture.

Oven Baked Pita Bread
Oven Baked Pita Bread

How to Cook Pita Bread

Stovetop Pita Bread

Heat a pan over medium heat and wait a few minutes until it heats up.

Place the dough down only until bubbles form then flip the dough. Cook for 20 – 30 seconds and then flip the dough over again. At this time, large pockets of air should start to form. Lightly press with the spatula on any air bubbles to increase the pressure and assist in creating a full pocket.

This method forms the skin on one side (not completely cooked) that when flipped over traps the heat inside the dough. When it is flipped over for the third time, it gets really hot and starts to steam. This is when you start seeing the large air pockets form. Assist the formation of the pocket by gently pressing down on the bubble to increase the pressure and make sure that the bread stays in contact with the pan, instead of lifting up. Then transfer to a plate.

Be careful not to burn your hand if the steam escapes or the bread breaks releasing the steam. It is very hot.

If Pockets are not desired, place the dough in and cook longer until good bubbling, then flip and cook the other side for 20 – 30 seconds.

Stovetop Pita Stacked
Stovetop Pita Stacked

Oven Pita Bread

Preheat the oven to the highest setting it will go with a pizza stone in place and the rack position in the lowest or second-lowest position. Once the oven is properly preheated you can place the dough in and cook for about 30 seconds after it puffs up.

Be careful transferring this to a plate. If the steam escapes and hits your hand, it’s going to be very hot.

Sometimes the pita bread won’t puff up either because the oven has lost too much heat or the dough breaks letting the steam escape.

Oven Pita Bread
Oven Pita Bread

Serving Pita Bread

For recipes like Donairs, Souvlaki, or other sandwich wraps, steam the bread or Fry the bread over the meat or in a pan before serving. This softens the Pita and makes for a better eating experience.

How to Freeze Pita Bread

You can freeze these easily by placing completely cooled Pita bread in a large Ziploc bag. When ready to use, just cook them again to bring to temp and return the texture as it was fresh again. If somehow you end up with really dry pitas from freezing or leaving them out too long. Brush with water and cook to return the freshness and texture. You can also use this tip for bread. Doing this causes you to get the bread back just like it was fresh.

Flavored Pita Bread

These pair up well with some dishes and are good just on their own as well. Flavored Pitas can also be served with a dish as the bread side, optionally with dips or Hummus.

Methi Pitas

Brush the Pita Breads right after being cooked with Butter, Garlic Butter, or Garlic Sauce and a Sprinkle of Fenugreek Leaves.

Fenugreek Leaf Buttered Pita Bread
Fenugreek Leaf Buttered Pita Bread

Za’atar Pitas

Brush the Pita Breads right after being cooked with Butter, Garlic Butter, or Garlic Sauce and Sprinkle Za’atar Seasoning over top.

Everything Bagel Pitas

One of my favorite snacks! Brush the Pita Breads right after being cooked with Butter, Garlic Butter, or Garlic Sauce and Sprinkle Maritime Bagel Seasoning on top.

Warmed Pita Bread with Butter and Everything Bagel Seasoning
Warmed Pita Bread with Butter and Everything Bagel Seasoning
Pita Bread Pin
Pita Bread Pin

Pita Bread

Delicious Pita Bread done either Stove Top or in the Oven. If you're going after the Pockets do them in the oven on a pizza stone. Stack Overlapping slightly for drier Pitas or on top of each other for soft and chewy.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Proofing2 hrs
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Middle eastren
Keyword: Bread, Flat Bread, Pita Bread
Servings: 12 Pitas
Author: JAH

Equipment

  • Dough Mixer

Ingredients

  • 4 C Flour - – plus more to achieve a slightly tacky dough and rolling the pitas out.
  • 2 C Warm Water
  • 3 Tbl Sugar
  • 1 Tbl Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tbl Yeast
  • 1/2 C JAH Poly Flour 

Instructions

  • Mix Water, Sugar, Yeast & 2 C Flour with a Whisk. Cover with Plastic and Place into the Oven. Turn the oven on for 20-30 seconds and then turn the oven off. Leave for about 30 minutes.
  • Add 2 C Flour, Salt & JAH Poly Flour. Mix 3 minutes on low and 5 minutes on a higher gear. Add more Flour to get a slightly tacky dough.
    Cover with Plastic and place into the oven. Turn the oven on for 20-30 seconds and then turn the oven off. Leave until Doubled. About 1hour.
  • Weigh and Shape into 90 g dough balls and let rest 20 minutes or so covered.
  • On a heavily floured surface, Flatten out all of the Dough Balls with the palm of your hand. Then roll the dough out to about the same size as a 9 inch pot lid to get a perfect circle.
    Shake off any excess flour and set aside covered.
    If the dough sticks to the roller, coat the dough in more flour. If the dough shrinks back too much, allow the dough to rest longer.

Oven

  • Preheat the oven to the highest setting with a pizza stone in place in the lowest or second-lowest rack position. Wait until it is fully preheated before cooking the Pitas.
  • Place Pita Bread in and cook until it puffs up. Hold it there for about 30 seconds before transferring it to a plate and repeat.

Stovetop

  • Heat a skillet up over medium heat and allow a few minutes for it to warm up.
  • Place Pita Bread and cook just until bubbles start to form.
    Flip the Pita bread over and cook another 20 – 30 seconds.
    Flip the Pita bread back over and finish cooking the other side. At this time large air pockets should form. Gently press on the large air pockets to assist in creating a full pocket. Transfer to a plate and repeat.
    If Pockets are not desired, then cook well on the first side, flip and cook on the other side. Pockets may still form, but are less likely.

Notes

Dry Pita – Cook in the oven for a few seconds after they puff and don’t stack them on top of each other. Wrap in a bag once at room temp.
Soft Pita – Cook on Stove Top and Stack on top of each other. Flip some of the Pita over when placing the Hot Pita on Top to in effect steam the Pitas above the hot one. Wrap in a Plastic Bag while Still warm.  
I use a garbage bag to cover the Dough for all steps and proof in the oven.
Try pita bread for your Pita Pizzas!
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