Make Your Own Tender, Perfectly Puffed Pita Breads – for Pennies!

After reading about homemade pita bread on the King Arthur Flour blog, I was obsessed with making a batch from scratch. I love pita bread, but I was spoiled years ago by warm, fresh-from-the-oven pitas in Athens and have never found anything close here in Colorado. Even at one of Denver’s largest Middle Eastern grocery stores, the pitas are chewy and a bit cardboardy.

Using the King Arthur recipe as a guideline (and based on research that recommended a mix of no more than 33% whole wheat flour for reliable rising), I substituted 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of spelt flour for one cup of the all-purpose flour. I didn’t have any King Arthur’s Dough Improver so I added a pinch of baking powder. Once the dough was ready to bake, I divided it into 8 portions and flattened the first ball slightly with my fingers like this:

pita1

Then I rolled the dough as evenly as possible into a round that was about 6 inches:

pita2

Based on the comments on the King Arthur blog, I positioned a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and preheated it in a 500-degree oven. Once it was hot, I slid the pita dough on the rack:

pita3

Amazingly, every pita bread puffed perfectly after 3 to 4 minutes in the oven!

pita4

Finally, as I took the pitas from the oven I tucked them in a clean dishtowel to keep them soft:

pita5

We ate some of the pitas right away, by splitting them in half, stuffing them with roast beef and cheese, wrapping them in foil and cooking them in the oven for a minute or two until the cheese melted. Then we added sliced avocado and tomato and ate them warm from the oven. They were the kind of pitas you dream about — fresh, warm, soft and lightly browned — and oh, so delicious!! I stored the remaining pitas in a zip-lock plastic bag, and the next day when we reheated them in the oven (wrapped in foil, sprinkled with a couple of drops of water) they were almost as good as the first. I do recommend eating them as soon as possible after you make them!

A final note:  This post was also shared at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Enjoy!

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

16 comments to Make Your Own Tender, Perfectly Puffed Pita Breads – for Pennies!

  • Oh, I was going to ask you for this recipe! Yum! I’ll make this tonight!

  • Pitas are so much fun and soooo good. Mary @ KAF

  • Annemarie

    I was looking for a recipe that rises and puffs up for so long now. We ate some at Primi Piatti restaurant in South Africa. I hope that this will satisfy my searching for puffed bread. Theirs seemed crispy and thin. Will try yours.

  • Oh I’m so excited. Those look delicious. My husband and I have been eating more pitas lately, and he’s been really into a NY TImes food writer, Mark Bitman, who advocates making your own crackers for pennies.

    My husband will be so proud of me! Plus, I live in Denver so I know that if the recipe worked for you, it’ll work for me!

    Thanks for the recipe!

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  • Misti

    Yuuummmmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!! Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait!!

    Mist
    parkbenchmoms.com

    • eliza_cross

      Thanks, Misti. They are so good – about a hundred times better than store bought pitas! Thanks for stopping by; I’m a big fan of Park Bench Moms!

  • misti

    I forgot the baking powder…and to leave mine out for an hour, so they didnt get TOO puffy, but we loved them nonetheless!

    Just wrote a post needing some advice/thoughts by experienced bloggers like yourself if you dont mind sharing….

    mist

    parkbenchmoms.com

  • This looks soooo good. I appreciate the photos. I love to bake and had honestly never even thought of baking pita bread. This will be a new one for me – I’m excited to try it.

  • anonymoose

    I’d like to try doing a pita bread using Chia Flour. Also, maybe substitute macadamia nut oil for the olive oil, and use generous amounts of black cumin seeds (ala naan). For the sugar.. I’d like to use stevia but I’m not sure if the yeast will work with it.

    Is my Frankenstein pita idea half baked?

    • eliza_cross

      I haven’t baked with chia flour, but I know it’s gluten free and can often be used as a substitute for wheat flour; you may have to bake it a little longer and I’m not sure how it would perform in pitas. I checked, and stevia does not feed yeast in the way that sugar does, for this recipe I don’t think it would be a good substitute. Please let us know the results of your baking experiments and good luck!

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