I may have made a big mistake as a mother by leading my son to believe that it’s perfectly normal to come home from school on a Wednesday afternoon to find a fresh batch of homemade pita bread cooling in the kitchen. He is going to either be sorely disappointed when he grows up and discovers that most living situations don’t provide freshly baked bread on a weekly basis or he’ll be the type of guy to whip up his own bread once a week, only time will tell.
The thing is, homemade pita bread turns out to be really easy to make! The recipe I use is in my latest book, The Complete Convection Oven Cookbook. The convection oven turns out especially puffy pitas, but the recipe is easily adjusted to suit a conventional oven.
I have to confess that even with the convection oven, my pitas don’t always get that nice pocket of air in the middle, but they still taste great. I think the key to getting that airy void is to make sure your oven is fully preheated and to flip the dough rounds over just before putting them in the oven.Print
Pita bread is surprisingly easy to make and watching the rounds puff up in the oven is so, so satisfying. I like to stuff these puffy pockets with chicken or tuna salad, or other sandwich fillers, or cut them into triangles and use them to scoop savory Middle Eastern dips like my Curry Hummus, baba ganoush, or tzatziki. This recipe is from my latest cookbook, available in stores now, The Complete Convection Oven Cookbook. You can make this bread in your convection oven (or using the convection setting on your oven), or in a standard oven.
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1¼ cups warm (105ºF to 110ºF) water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface and rolling pin
- In a large bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy.
- Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, beat in the salt and 1½ cups of flour. Add the remaining 1½ to 2 cups of flour, ¼ to ½ cup at a time, until a shaggy dough forms. Note: You may not need the last ¼ or ½ cup of flour. The dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky.
- On a floured work surface, knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Alternatively, using the dough hook of an electric mixer on low speed, knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal-size balls. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each ball into a ¼-inch-thick disk and arrange them on a baking sheet. Let the disks rise at room temperature for about 40 minutes until they begin to puff up.
- Select Convection Bake and preheat the oven to 400° (If you are using a conventional oven, set the temperature to 425ºF).
- Flip each dough disk over on the baking sheet and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until the pitas are puffed and light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack before serving. Serve warm. To serve after they’ve cooled, wrap them in aluminum foil and heat in a 350ºF oven for 10 minutes before serving.
• If you are making the pitas ahead, cool them to room temperature and store them, in a resealable plastic bag, for up to 2 days at room temperature or up to 3 months in the freezer. Make a double or triple batch and you’ll have homemade pita bread any time you need it.