If you’ve ever had a Greek gyro then you’ve probably had a pita pocket before. Pita is also commonly served with hummus and is largely used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Pita bread is made similar to regular bread, but it’s baked at a high temperature which turns moisture into steam and separates the sides forming its characteristic pocket.
Pita bread can also be cut into smaller pieces and baked again to make pita chips for dipping. I’ve had storebought pita chips before, but haven’t tried making them myself (yet) from this recipe. If I do get adventurous next time, I’ll update and let you all know how it goes.
I’m a cheater when it comes to making bread and doughs because I use my bread machine. This could definitely be done by hand too, but, I’ll be honest, I just don’t have time for that. Especially when I have a perfectly good bread machine sitting in the cabinet just waiting to be used. Seriously, if you enjoy bread, you should consider investing in a bread machine. I use mine at least once a month, if not more often than that.
Step by Step
For this recipe, I am going to assume you have a bread machine partly because that’s how I make it and partly because I’ve never made it by hand so wouldn’t be able to fully instruct you. As with almost all baking recipes, make sure you use exact amounts for everything so your dough comes out the way it should.
Pour all of the ingredients into the bread machine and set it on the dough setting and let it do its thing. When I get warm water for this, I run my sink for a minute or two on a warm setting. It doesn’t need to be boiling or steaming, just shouldn’t be cold water.
Once the machine is done making the dough, turn it onto a lightly floured working surface.
Gently roll and stretch the dough until it forms a 12-inch rope. It doesn’t have to be perfect at this point but just needs to be stretched out a bit.
Divide the dough into eight equal(ish) pieces. I like to use a dough slicer for this since it easily cuts through.
Roll each chunk of dough into a small ball.
Use a rolling pin (or your hands) to flatten out each piece of dough into a circle about 6-7 inches in diameter. This will be the size of your pita pockets. You don’t want to stretch them too far, otherwise, they won’t rise properly.
Keep these flattened pieces on the lightly floured countertop and cover with a towel. Let them rise for about 45 minutes until they get slightly puffy. Preheat the oven to 500F and place the pitas on a baking sheet. I can’t ever fit them all on one, so you will have to cook these in batches. I can fit three on my cooking stone, so it takes me about 30 minutes total.
Cook the pitas for 7-10 minutes, until they puff to form the pockets and begin to brown.
Remove the pitas from the oven and immediately place them in a sealed brown paper bag or in a large bowl covered with a damp towel. Keep them in here until they are soft, adding the next batch as you go.
After they are softened and cooled, the pitas are ready to eat. You can cut them in half to form two sandwich pockets or tear off the end if you want to stuff the entire pita. I like to use them for hummus so often end up just tearing them to pieces to dip.
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- 1 1/8 cup warm water
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- Place all ingredients in bread machine and set to dough
- Turn dough onto lightly floured surface
- Gently roll and stretch dough into a 12 inch rope
- Divide dough into 8 pieces
- Roll each into a smooth ball
- With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6-7 inch circle
- Set aside on a lightly floured countertop and cover with a towel
- Let pitas rise about 45 minutes until slightly puffy
- Preheat oven to 500
- Place pitas on baking sheet and bake 7-10 minutes or until puffed and tops begin to brown
- Remove from oven and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag or cover with a damp kitchen towel until soft