Pita Bread

Pita Bread

Serves: Makes ~20 Pita Breads
Approx cost: €0.50
Approx calories (per pita bread): ~120
Approx preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes + 60 minutes proving for the dough

Every time I see pita bread for sale in stores these days I chuckle to myself. €1.40 for ~5 is a typical price around here. This recipe will make four times that quantity, for a third of the cost, and what’s even better is that, as with all home-made bread, you know that it doesn’t have nasty preservatives inside to keep the bread “fresh and edible” long after our sun has burned itself out, many millions of years into the future. There’s a time and a place for preservatives. My bread isn’t one of them. I’ve found that pita breads need a bit of care to get them “just right”. The dough is easy enough – it’s the baking process you need to watch out for. You have to pull these bad-boys out right when they’re puffing… that is, of course, assuming you want to split them and stuff them. Personally I find it’s a great bread just for tearing and dipping, but I know some people like to make sandwiches with them. If you’re one of those people, make sure you’re “oven-attentive” :)

This post happily coincides with my blog’s new year’s resolution to be more proactive in providing ethical, but frugal, tips and tricks to people. Anyone can say “go out and buy factory farmed eggs, they’re one third the price of organic, free-range, hurrrrrr”. That’s not really in keeping with my ethical mind-set though, while things like home-made pita are since if you can make bread (and if you don’t, you really should!) then you can certainly make these! I’ve been making all my own bread now for a couple of months and it’s fantastic. When I think about the savings I make on bakery loaves it makes me all warm inside :) Some people may argue that you have to offset the savings against how much you value your time. Well – for me right now it’s a pleasure. When I’m smashing that dough around there’s no greater feeling :)

I’m now back from my vacation and am going to spend the weekend sorting out a few photos to present to you over my next few posts which I hope you’ll enjoy. Stay tuned as well for information about my upcoming giveaways which I’m quite excited about :) Enjoy your weekends everyone!

Ingredients

Pita Bread ingredients

  • 500g Plain White Flour
  • 325ml Water
  • 4 tbsps Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp dried Yeast
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. Start off by heating the water to about 40 degrees. It should feel warm, but not hot to the touch. Mix the yeast and sugar together in a small bowl and pour in a little bit of the water – about 5 tbsps. Mix the yeast and water well using a fork or a small whisk and set aside to allow the yeast to activate. Next, place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour in half of the oil (2 tbsps) and mix well. I like to use a balloon whisk to blend in the oil as it prevents any clumps of oil and flour from forming. Once the yeast has started bubbling, pour it into the flour mixture, along with the rest of the water and mix well with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well blended and you have a dough.
    Making the dough
  2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. After this, place the dough-ball back into the mixing bowl, pour over the remaining 2 tbsps of oil and then cover the bowl with a clean cloth and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour, to allow the dough to rise.
    Kneading the dough
  3. Once the dough has doubled inside take it back to your work surface. Turn on the oven to ~230 degrees Celsius to pre-heat and then punch down the dough and turn it onto the surface. Knead it gently for a couple of minutes and pull of pieces of dough about the size of a golf-ball. Roll them so they’re roughly spherical and then place them onto an area which is not floured. Using a rolling pin roll them back and forth, though only in one direction, to obtain the classic pita oblong shape (apparently this is only a classic shape in England though… in other countries they’re often round, so roll them as you like!). Keep going until they’re about 0.5 cm thick and then place them onto baking sheets. Put the breads into the oven and bake for about 3 minutes, or until they’ve puffed up. As they won’t bake quite so well on the underside, turn the breads over and bake again for about 1 minute more before removing from the oven.
    Rolling the breads
  4. You can also using a baking stone, and then you won’t need to turn them, but that’s up to you. In any case, once they’ve cooked allow them to cool gently and then place them into bags. Enjoy them immediately or store them in the freezer for a later date! Enjoy :)
    Pita Bread

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60 Comments

  1. Homemade pita bread! So good!

    Reply
    • Thanks Sook – they’re definitely better than the ones I buy in the stores :)

      Reply
  2. Hey Charles, ever since your mention of this recipe (a few months ago?) I’ve been eagerly waiting for it! Because I’ve tried pita bread myself at home but it needed a really high temperature that my old oven doesn’t go up to! So they become rock-solid and only a 1/4 of the circles rose. The rest stayed flat and turned really hard.

    So I want to make these, because they look and sound promising. I just wanted to ask about the splitting and filling them up experience. Were you able to do that? Because that’s how I love to make my wraps :)

    P.S. I just place a normal baking tray in the oven to get it to become super hot (just like the pizza stone idea) and it works great! :)

    Reply
    • Hi Fati – I love that you remembered… and I’m happy I finally posted them! I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences with pita bread at home before – I really hope this recipe won’t disappoint too! These can be split and filled perfectly, but it takes some work to get the thickness right. The first time I made them they were too thin, then a bit too thick. If you try and rigidly stick to rolling them 0.5cm thick and removing them from the oven as soon as they’ve puffed then you should have no problem at all, so I really hope you have some success!

      Reply
      • Sounds great. Looks like you also needed to experiment.
        Well, now all I’m waiting for is a day when I’m home alone so I can focus and hope to get this recipe right from the first time… Will report back when I do it, how I went :)

        Reply
  3. How cool is that! It looks so easy! It also looks like when I made naan… some of mine bubbled up like pita bread and had the little pockets :) Great recipe!

    Reply
    • Hi Stefanie – naan bread is the next thing I want to have a go at. My local Indian restaurant does cheese and garlic stuffed naans… Simply the most amazing thing ever!

      Reply
  4. Good resolution…Nice bread!

    Reply
    • Thanks Nada – they were really good :)

      Reply
  5. I love making homemade pitas. It’s a project Miss A and I have a lot of fun with together. We should do that again soon – especially since I’ve been whipping up your baba ghanoush left and right. :) Welcome back home and good luck settling in this weekend! I’m looking forward to your pics! :)

    Reply
    • Hi Kristy – yay for baba ghanoush lashed onto pita breads! A real treat! Do you like hummus too? I have a bit of an addiction to that stuff :D Hope you’re having a good weekend too – I’ve been writing up Tuesday’s post with some photos so I hope everyone enjoys it :)

      Reply
  6. Charles, what a great idea for a post – I love when you can make something relatively easily with your hands and create a much better/fresher product for far less money. I am going to show my boys this recipe ~ they are both becoming more and more experimental in the kitchen (our eldest made a Gawker recipe that he spotted himself over the holidays – too cute ;0). Anyhow, they both love bread and with your detailed instructions and photos, they would have a great time with this project and adore the product, I have no doubt. Totally excited about the giveaway… sounds like you may have picked up a beauty or two during your travels…

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly, thanks so much! It’s so cool that your boys are getting into cooking… I love that your eldest made a recipe he found himself… that’s really great. What was it he made in the end?

      I hope they give the bread a try, and I hope it turns out well. You can’t beat home-made pitas in my opinion. I make almost all my own bread now and will never buy these chemical-tasting things from the store anymore. I am writing up a recipe to post on Tuesday today – gluten free bread/cracker type things which my mother-in-law made while I was in Sweden so I think you’ll like the look of that one too!

      Reply
        • Ooh, baked egg… I can well imagine he was proud… they look fab. I love baked eggs – reminds me of an egg and chutney (baked) pot I posted last year. A perfect breakfast! Thanks for the link – something to try soon methinks :)

        • Congratulations to your son on making the famous “Eggs en cocotte”. A pretty fancy dish regardless of his age. :)

  7. Charles, I’m really impressed! Your pita bread sounds like a lot of work (even if you say it’s easy it’s still lots of work!) and it looks delicious.
    You are totally right about the price (here in Switzerland the pita bread is even more expensive) and about the taste: the only edible ones are sold in the kebab shops, but those sold in supermarkets are awful.
    I wish I could have a couple of these for tonight’s dinner ;-)
    I don’t know if you go often to organic (bio) shops, but I do more and more and I have good news concerning your health food resolution. Even though some products (such as eggs) are still more expensive, such things as potatoes, avocados, mandarins (organic mandarins are terrific!!! peeling the skin without the nasty sticky thing is all new to me) or oranges cost almost the same as the pesticides-treated produce in the nearby supermarket… (Ok, meat is still more expensive, but I prefer my free-range cheaper butcher, anyway.)
    I suppose organic shops’ prices go down because they have more and more customers (before there were only hippie-style or “bobo” customers and now I regularly see very old ladies and all kinds of people). The funny thing is organic food prices in supermarkets start decreasing too…(They must visit sometimes other shops).
    Anyway, for me it’s really excellent news! If I sleep too long and miss my Saturday market I can still have healthy vegetables and fruit at very wise prices.
    Congratulations for the pita!

    Reply
    • Hi Sissi! Do they actually sell pita bread on its own in kebab shops in Switzerland, or do you mean sold as part of a kebab? Interestingly, I always found kebab shops in France a little odd. They serve the kebab in some sort of thick ciabatta-like bread. The texture isn’t helped by the fact they’re often frozen and defrosted in the microwave prior to being filled, resulting in something ultra-chewy and indigestible :(

      It’s been some years since I went to the organic stores – Naturalia, Bio-coop etc, to name a few. I found them exciting – so many things I didn’t often see, but the prices were often very high. I’ll check them out again sometime to see if there have been any changes! Thanks for the tip :)

      Reply
      • Hi Charles, the kebab I went to several times asks you which type of bread you prefer: pit or what they call Turkish bread (the one sold in France). I haven’t been in a kebeb shop for ages though. Kebabs here are disgusting and I don’t often feel like having falafels especially since I made them on my own ;-).
        I go to two different organic shops. Both have surprisingly lowered their prices. I don’t want to sound like a desperate housewife with prices in her head, but yesterday I bought delicious avocados at 0,90, mandarins at 2 euros, potatoes at 2 euros, lemons at 2 euros too and they had even Seville oranges at 3,50! (Accidentally I had to buy some things later on in Carrefour where organic avocados were almost twice as expensive!!!)
        I also see that organic shops have more and more fresh produce (I remember two years ago they had hardly anything fresh, usually very “tired” vegetables and fruits, but I suppose it’s the result of bigger number of clients and lowered prices).
        As for the unusual things, I have bought some bergamote oranges (did you know they call them “citron bergamote” not “orange” in French?) and a citron (cédrat), both ridiculously cheap.

        Reply
        • Haha – that does sound like good value, thanks Sissi. I’ve never seen seville oranges here… I really want to make some marmalade, because they really are best for that! I’d love to find bergamot oranges too… wow. Such a cool find. I think if I found those I’d just scotch-tape them to my nose and walk around all day inhaling deeply :D

  8. I so agree Charles, I have a hard time purchasing pita bread not only for the price but the taste is just not fresh – no comparison at all! It’s definitely been awhile since I’ve made them. You have me inspired to make a batch; they look so good all stacked up!!

    Reply
    • Hi Linda! There’s no way I’ll be buying the funky-tasting store ones anymore, that’s for sure! Fresh pita whenever I like – yay :)

      Reply
  9. This is a great post idea. I never make my own bread — but your post has inspired me to try to make pita bread because you make it look straight-forward.And, I’m going to get the girls to help because they love pitas.

    Reply
    • Hi Barb – I make almost all my own bread these days – with the exception of the odd baguette (after all, who am I to trample on centuries old French bread tradition!)

      Hope you have some good success with the recipe. The trickiest part is getting the thickness right. Too thick and they won’t puff. Too thin and they’ll puff but not split properly! Enjoy :)

      Reply
  10. I’ve never thought of making pita bread myself at home, you’re so productive, Charles, respect…:)!! I am usually too lazy when I have to make homemade bread, pasta, etc because they’re just so readily available. But I can very well imagine that the smell coming out from the oven must be amazing!

    Reply
    • Hi CG – I’m still not won over on the home-made over store-bought pasta battle. It’s nice to make it at home, but the effort involved… the differences in bought pasta compared to home-made are, for me, pretty small so I’d probably continue buying it and just occasionally making a bit by hand for a special occasion.

      Bread though – I love the whole process. In fact just tonight I’m going to be making some pull apart bread rolls for sandwiches and breakfast during the week! Can’t wait :)

      Reply
  11. Gosh, that’s really expensive pita bread. The ones they sell here aren’t that costly and pretty good too. But I’d still want to try my hand at this one day. These are my mum’s favorite type of bread coz she can just stuff anything and everything in it and she says that when she chomps into it, the stuffing doesn’t squirt out the back like most sandwiches. :D
    Will definitely bookmark this one.

    Reply
    • Hi Ping – I can understand, it must vary a lot from country to country. If I went to a country which consumes a lot of pita bread then the bought stuff is probably incredible quality – much like the baguette in France!

      I agree with your mother though :) It’s just the perfect bread for all sorts of things :D A perfect little pocket :)

      Reply
  12. charles, I am so happy to hear of your new years resolution! eating ethically, local and seasonal, and free-range are very important to me, which is why I work at the farmers’ market! I’m not sure if they have such things in france..but even so, there’s tricks to eating very frugally even on organic meat, just give up those expensive steaks and go for slow-braised cheap/forgotten cuts, often they’re even more delicious! and eating more vegetables instead of muscle meat always helps. I wouldn’t fret too much about organic vegetables if you manage to get local fresh ones from sources you can trust, because many farmers have very good farming standards, but just can’t afford the pricey organic certification. also, it helps that vegetables like cabbages and broccoli naturally dn’t attract insects much so are very likely free of pesticides. all these are on a post I wrote before, called “how to survive on real food on a student budget”, I know you aren’t a student anymore, but maybe you can pick up some ideas for your transition(:

    great work on the pita btw, they look just perfect!

    Reply
    • Hi Shuhan – I don’t think they have Farmers’ markets in France in the same way as they do in England… at least, I guess they must in some places, but I’ve yet to find any near me. Presumably they have them more in the agricultural areas of France. Paris and the suburbs aren’t really well known for being prime planting land :D

      Thanks for the tips on the food – I never knew that about cabbages and broccoli… it’s so interesting finding out things like this I think :) I’d love to come see the market where you work… I bet I’d love it. My biggest gripe these days is that nowhere sells raw beetroot. Seriously… WHY?! It’s always ready peeled and cooked, and sitting there looking all sweaty in a polystyrene box :/

      I vaguely remember reading that post you mentioned… but maybe not. I’ll look it up now :) Have a nice Sunday!

      Reply
  13. Fortunately for me, Charles, my Mom was a great bread maker and subsequently gave me the courage to make my own bread, which I have been doing for 25 years now. Until recently, that is…JT spotted a recipe for no knead bread from Jim Leahy of the Sullivan Street Bakery and has now usurped my rightful place in the kitchen as chief bread baker! His no knead bread is seriously good, with an amazing crumb. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html
    The pita breads you made are quite lovely. I’m like you, I like them torn for dipping. I made a wonderful navy bean hummus today that would go perfectly with your pita, too bad we weren’t neighbours, I would have brought some over!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the link Eva – it looks like an amazing bread, but wow, what a long time for preparation? If you say it’s worth it though, I might need to give it a try… at least once! (Probably I’ll end up completely in love with it and never want to change again!)

      As luck would have it, I actually made a hummus today myself (nom nom), although it was just a “regular” one. Your one sounds very delicious – would have loved to try it!

      Reply
  14. The only one way I enjoy pitta bread is with hummus and to enjoy it with fresh home made pita bread would be just amazing. I will try it out sometime :)

    Reply
    • Thanks Kankana – please let me know if you do! I’d love to know how it goes :)

      Reply
  15. You know I’ve never been a bread person lol.. but I love when you guys make these amazing bread recipes. I learn how to make them, send the recipe to my mom, and we try to make them.. and of course she eats it all as I just make it to have fun :). And I know she will LOVE your Pita Bread :)

    Reply
    • Hi Kay – too bad you wouldn’t enjoy these, but I hope your mother can give them a try! Let me know how they turn out :)

      Reply
  16. thanks a lot for sharing. i love pita.

    Reply
    • Thanks Loveforfood – I love all bread, but pita has a special place in my mouth heart!

      Reply
  17. My gosh I want homemade pita bread! I bet I won’t leave your house if you serve this…. I’m trying to reduce carb so that I can “hopefully” lose weight, but I think I can’t live without carb… I go crazy by looking at your delicious pita! But once I eat, I probably can’t stop. This pita bread is PERFECT.

    Reply
    • Hi Nami, did you have some Christmas overindulgence too then? I put on ~5kg over Christmas and New Year… ouch :( Need to start getting back into shape again! I definitely agree that reducing bread would help a lot in that goal… but it’s just so tasty :(

      Reply
  18. Can you imagine the amazing aroma while this bread’s bakin’?Wow must be awesome
    I am almost tempted to eat some of these with falafel and
    tzatziki sauce. Fantastic Bread…Yumm:)

    Reply
    • Definitely, Malli – falafel and tzatziki would be amazing – don’t forget some thick slices of grilled aubergine stuffed inside too! Yummy :)

      Reply
  19. Your pita breads looked lovely.

    We have a large middle eastern population so I can get pitas (either the middle eastern or thicker greek ones) freshly made daily at quite a reasonable price. I don’t even try making my own. I’ve tried making garlic naan and had iffy luck depending on the thickness rolled as with your pitas. I also end up scorching my baking sheets at the high temps (500 deg F) required by my recipe so I stopped trying. :)

    Reply
    • Ah, you’re lucky to have a source for fresh pitas so close! I find pitas surprisingly successful to make at home, but I want to try naans too, but don’t think I will be so successful. The ovens used to cook them are insanely hot – just impossible to recreate that at home, but well – I can try all the same :D

      Reply
      • I’ve emailed you my naan recipe though there are a lot out there already. It’s the one I picked to try when I wanted to make them at home. The taste of the naans was good, it was the technique that I had trouble with to get the bubbles/puffing up without too much burning. :)

        I’ve included all 3 ways I baked them, in the middle of the oven at high heat, under the broiler for a brief time, and in the middle of the oven at medium heat. The latter was the most kind to my baking sheets and gave me the most control over the process. Good luck.

        PS: You can try brushing them with roasted garlic mixed into the melted butter/ghee which is what the indian restaurant we had them in seems to have done, or kneading roasted mashed garlic (not raw) into your dough.

        Reply
        • Thanks A_Boleyn – I can’t wait to have a go. I don’t have a bread machine, so I’ll have make them by hand but I’ll try the different suggested methods! Hope I can find a good way – thanks! :)

  20. Can’t wait to try this. I’ve been making all sorts of interesting breads lately. So much fun!

    ~Melissa

    Reply
    • Isn’t it?! I made some poppy seed rolls on Sunday – yummy :)

      Reply
  21. This looks so simple to make and so delicious! I completely agree with trying to make more homemade foods to avoid preservatives. As much as I love bread, I’ve never even considered that pita could be made at home; that’s how commercialized pita bread is to me. After reading your post, I’m going to give it a try.

    “When I’m smashing that dough around there’s no greater feeling.” Word.

    Reply
    • Thanks Kyleen – you have to give these a try. You’ll never want to buy the nasty store ones again after you’ve made your own!!!

      Reply
    • Thanks Kiran :) Hope you can give them a try some day! They’re very tasty :)

      Reply
  22. Hello Charles,
    This is my first time on your blog and I am really glad I visited, you are doing a brilliant job here. Thank you for taking the time and for all the effort you put into your posts, its inspiring.
    I love homemade pita, it is much better than anything you can buy but it is a little tricky to get right.Looking forward to trying your recipe

    Reply
    • Hi Sawsan – thanks so much for dropping by! I definitely agree… getting them just right can take some practice but it’s definitely worth it because they’re so delicious :) Hope you enjoy looking at some of my other posts! Have a great day :)

      Reply
  23. I haven’t made homemade pita in years. You’re so right about the cost. Katherine had to visit a bakery last summer when the tomatoes came in and we were out of bread. Yikes. Talk about pricey.

    Reply
    • Oh yeah – you just can’t beat home-made! Mmm, seeing this post again gives me a sudden urge to eat more pita bread… Might have to make some more tomorrow :D

      Reply
    • Thanks Gursahiba! I hope they work out well for you – let me know how they go :)

      Reply
  24. I am interested in avoiding any refined carbohydrate such as refined flour or sugar (for weight control). Wheat is okay, but even then I am considering oat, or just about anything else. Also, even though I can handle wheat just fine, what can I make for my celiac friends?

    Reply
    • Hi Dennis, have you ever tried quinoa flour? I’m not sure how it fares in bread like this, but I made some tortillas with it here and they turned out great!

      Gluten free and yummy :). It’s got a very special taste… some people may not like it but it’s worth a try maybe.

      Reply

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