I had a friend ask me for my pita bread recipe recently and thought I’d post it here as well.
I generally use sourdough but you can do it using store yeast as well.
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour (I make mine by grinding wheat berries in my Blendtec)
1 – 1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil.
Mix the yeast and warm water and let sit until it’s starts to bubble up. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly (but don’t knead yet). Let sit 10-20 mins. Now knead well. (For most doughs I don’t knead very much but you should knead this dough very well). If possible, achieve a “window pane” or close to it. For better dough, oil a bowl or plastic bag and leave it in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have time then let it sit out on the counter for 1-2 hours until it starts to puff up (1.5 – 2 times its size). Cut into small pieces (I’m guessing you’d get between 7-10), stretch them like you would to form rolls and leave them to sit for a few more minutes. At some point in this time preheat your oven to 550 (including the stone). Make sure the stone is at full temp by preheating for at least 30 mins.
For each pita, roll it out on a lightly floured counter (all purpose or bread flour). Make sure and flip it over at some point so that both sides get in the flour. This makes sure that the outside is dryer than the inside. Roll out to 1/8″ thick using a rolling pin. I then place 1-2 of them onto the stone by hand (no need for a peel here). Make sure that they are lying flat on the stone, adjust as needed (I use my fingers but it’s hot, watch out).
Leave them in the oven only until they fully inflate. Don’t wait for them to brown at all (unless you like crispy pita). Place in a basket lined with a dish towel, covered, until you are ready to eat them. Also watch out, as you take them out of the oven, the hot steam from inside may leak out…it’s hot!
Feel free to adjust the ingredients as necessary (especially the amount of flour). It shouldn’t be a dry dough but also shouldn’t be sticky either…but don’t add any extra flour until you’ve let it sit for the first time. You can also use all bread flour and skip the whole wheat if you’d like.
My friend Yossi gave the following advice:
“I roll mine to about 1/4″ thick, and I also let them raise a little before putting in the oven. Israeli pitas are thicker than the ones you typically buy at Costco.
I don’t use oil in my recipe, only flour, yeast, water and salt. The only times I had a problem with puffing is when the dough was too dry or the oven too cold. When I knead the dough I add just enough flour so that it’s not sticky and easily kneadable. After the first rise any stickiness goes away.”