pita-bread Recipes

pita bread

Oh, am I so happy to finally have a great pita recipe. You see, pitas themselves aren’t hard to make. Most recipes very closely, or even exactly, resemble a standard pizza dough and they’re not much more difficult to assemble. No, the trouble comes when you pop them in the oven and pray for the kind of puffiness you can pop some falafel into and end up with flatbread. Delicious, warm, toasty flatbread, but definitely not a pita.

pitas, risingpita breadsrolling the pitaspita, baked and puffed

But this works! These babies puffed up like a mouth-watering poori bread in the oven, coming out closer to balloons than pizzas — at last. The technique, which should be 100 percent attributed to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s brilliance, and not my own, puts indiviuals pitas on a searing hot baking stone (or if you’re me, and have busted another one I don’t want to talk about it a cast iron skillet) and bakes them for just three minutes. I found that spritzing the tops with water guaranteed a perfect puff, but really, that’s all there is. It’s that easy.

cooling on a towel

This may also be the perfect starter bread, for those of you intimidating by the bread-making process. A long rise in the fridge lends itself to a developed flavor we associate with high-end artisanal breads; it also does the hardest work for you. The ingredients are as simple as any bread can be and with a baking time of three minutes per pita, it’s hard to argue that it will keep you tied to the kitchen for long. Best part — even if yours don’t puff, you’ll still have a most delicious flatbread, and with a little extra effort,the most delicious hummus to dip it into.

perfect pockets

One year ago: Almond Biscotti

Deb went on vacation and all I got were these lousy pita breads! Wondering why your comments aren’t being responded to at the speed that you’ve come to expect? It’s true, we’ve flown the coop and we’ll be back at the end of the week. But come on, we left you homemade pita bread — you shouldn’t have to miss us at all.

Pita Bread
Adapted from The Bread Bible

3 cups plus a scant 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (16 oz./454 grams)
2 teaspoons salt (1/2 oz./13.2 grams)
2 teaspoons instant yeast (6.4 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil (1 oz./27 grams)
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature (10.4 oz./295 grams)

1. About 1 1/2 hours before shaping, or for best flavor development, 8 hours to 3 days ahead, mix the dough.

Mixer method: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients. With the paddle attachment, mix on low speed (#2 if using a KitchenAid) just until all the flour is moistened, about 20 seconds. Change to the dough hook, raise the speed to medium (#4 KitchenAid), and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should clean the bowl and be very soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary. (the dough will weigh about 27.75 oz./793 grams.)

Hand method: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for a scant 1/4 cup of the flour. With a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until all the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together.

Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto the counter and scrape the dough onto it. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding as little of the reserved flour as possible. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as you knead it. At this point it will be very sticky. Cover it with the inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 5 to 20 minutes. (This rest will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.)

Knead the dough for another 5 to 10 minutes or until it is soft and smooth and just a little sticky to the touch. Add a little flour or water if necessary. (The dough will weigh about 27.75 oz./793 grams.)

2. Let the dough rise: Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2-quart or larger dough-rising container or bowl, lightly greased with cooking spray or oil. Press the dough down and lightly spray or oil the top of it. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark the side of the container at approximately where double the height of the dough would be. Refrigerate the dough overnight (or up to 3 days), checking every hour for the first 4 hours and pressing it down if it starts to rise.

3. Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 475°F one hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone, cast-iron skillet, or baking sheet on it before preheating.

4. Shape the dough: Cut the dough into 8 or 12 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the rest covered with a damp cloth. On a lightly floured counter, with lightly floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten it into a disk. Cover the dough with oiled plastic and allow it to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Roll each disk into a circle a little under 1/4 inch thick. Allow them to rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before baking.

5. Bake the pita: Quickly place 1 piece of dough directly on the stone or in the skillet or on the baking sheet, and bake for 3 minutes. The pita should be completely puffed but not beginning to brown. The dough will not puff well if it is not moist enough. See how the pita puffs, then, if necessary, spray and knead each remaining piece with water until the dough is soft and moist; allow to rest again and reroll as before.* (However, those that do not puff well are still delicious to eat.)

* After my first pita didn’t puff well, and I realized I was too lazy to spritz and reroll and rise each remaining pita, I instead spritzed each rolled-out pita with water two or three minutes before baking it. It worked magically — all of the remaining pitas puffed perfectly. Try this method first if yours don’t puff, if it doesn’t work to you, revert to Beranbaum’s suggestion of kneading the extra moisture in.

Proceed with the remaining dough, baking 3 or 4 pieces at a time if using a stone or baking sheet. using a pancake turner, transfer the pita breads to a clean towel, to stay soft and warm. Allow the oven to reheat for 5 minutes between batches. The pitas can be reheated for about 30 seconds in a hot oven before serving.

To cook the pitas on the stove top: Preheat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the surface and cook the pitas one at a time. Cook for about 20 seconds, then turn the dough and continue cooking for 1 minute or until big bubbles appear. Turn the dough again and cook until the dough balloons. If the dough begins to brown, lower the heat. The entire cooking process for each pita should be about 3 minutes.

Whole wheat variation: For a whole wheat version, use half whole wheat and half white flour. If using regular whole wheat flour, for best results, grind it very fine or process it in a food processor for 5 minutes to break the bran into smaller particles. Finely ground 100% whole wheat flour (atta), available in Middle Eastern food markets, is the finest grind available. Or, for a milder but wheatier flavor and golden color, try 100% white whole wheat flour. You will need to add 1/4 cup more water, for a total of 1 1/2 cups (12.4 oz./354 grams).

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277 comments on pita bread

  1. Kim

    Deb, I feel your pain about the stone. We just bought 2 more round ones since our rectangle seems to always be in use, and one of them shattered on the second use, while it was in the oven! Guess it goes to show you shouldn’t trust half off sales.

  2. Eily

    Alton Brown has a money saving pizza stone suggestion: unglazed quarry tile from a building supply store. Not as easy to come by as the local Williams Sonoma or Crate & Barrel… but you’ll save a ton of cash for your efforts. I dunno about the fancy pizza stones, but I store my tile on the bottom of my oven all the time. I think the oven holds its temperature better with it in there, too.

  3. This reminds me of something we call “bake” in the Guyanese food culture. I’ve had pita a thousand times but never drew the similarities until I saw that top picture. And for a split second I was … “OMG! She made bake!”

  4. Aimee

    I look forward to trying this recipe. My family is lebanese and we often have homemade bread lying around. I have used the newer Joy of Cooking recipe a few times and like it. My grandmother also has a recipe but of course it is for using a 5 lb. bag of flour and I don’t want to make that much at one time. I am trying to get her to pass me on a scaled down version. I wish she had a smaller version of recipe so I could have a more authentic passed down recipe. I do know that she uses margarine in her bread instead of olive oil. I am interested in trying this soon and seeing how it compares!

  5. onhazier

    You can use the bottom dish of an unglazed terra cotta pot from your local plant nursery or hardware store as well. They’re easier to find than the tiles and come in various sizes. A 16 inch one averages about $15.

  6. i’ll take the pita we you can do a follow up on pita chips! Haha. Perhaps I will try out pita chips. Or perhaps some obscene version of “greek pita nachos”

    … Pita, melted feta, fresh cucmbers, pickled red onions. mmmm….

  7. Forgive me if this posts twice, but I seem to be having compy troubles – I tried making pita with the whole wheat dough from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day last week and I had puffing problems. I think your water spritz bottle might be the solution. Brilliant. Thanks for the tip!

  8. I can’t wait to try these. For whatever reason, I’ve had bad luck getting fresh pita bread at the store. We’re trying to make all our own bread these days, so this will definitely increase the repertoire. Thanks so much!

  9. Megan

    What would you say the advantage is to making your own pita at home? It looks delicious and sounds like a fun recipe, but there are so many places in the city where you can buy really fresh pita. But I’d be up for it if it tastes better, etc.

  10. Jen

    Yesssss! I’m very excited to try these! Deb, what did I do before I (apparently) only made recipes from your website? Thank you! And thank you for including hand mixing instructions as well. It is very much appreciated! By me!

  11. Erin

    Oh wow! Earlier this week, I was buying pitas and thinking, “Surely I could be making these…?”

    Mind reading once again, Deb. Thanks! I’ll try these out soon!

  12. these look good. i just made some naan a few days ago to go with some indian curry and they turned out FANTASTIC. i just put the stone in the oven at a HIGH temp. then put a few rolled out and baked them for 3 min and it created the best naan i’ve ever had, store bought or otherwise. i’ll have to try the pita next.

  13. I made pita once, I used the recipe from Baking with Julia. They didn’t puff, so I haven’t tried again since. I am definitely going to try this version.

  14. Could your timing be any better? I’m thinking not. I’ve recently had an awkward obsession with all things pita-related. Now you’re telling me you have a trusted recipe that I can use to make my own? In my own house? To eat when and where (and however many) I want?! There’s a reason we like you, Deb. You’re some sort of food psychic. Move over, Cleo…

  15. Lovely! I make pita regularly but don’t have a stone or cast iron skillet. I just heat up my baking sheets prior to putting the dough on them to bake. They puff 98% of the time. :)

  16. Too bizarre, too utterly bizarre. You totally read my mind. Making a Mediterranean lunch party on Saturday and was in serious need of a pita recipe. My other recipe is from Israel and has measurements in grams — alas, I lack a kitchen scale. Deb to the rescue. Phew. Thanks!

  17. Lorena

    Oh my… those pitas look great!! goodbye to those store-bought pitas, never liked them either! I’ve realized you have all the measurements converted into grams, thank you! that’s great!
    Love your site!

  18. I have been hoping that this post was coming soon! These look fantastic and I can only buy one awful brand of packaged pita around here. We will give this a try right away!

  19. Cory

    One of my favorite cookbooks is called “Pita the Great” which is a silly title but has excellent Mediterranean recipes including a no-fail pita recipe. That hot pre-heated oven really seems to be the key; I think she calls for 500 degrees.

  20. KatieJ

    bless you! I have been wanting to try a whole wheat pita bread recipe since I’ve been frequenting our local Mediterranean place for pita, hummus and tabouli. I’ve been making the hummus at home which started by me accidentally buying and opening 2 cans of garbanzo beans instead of navy. I’ve been checking out tabouli recipes as well so now I’m all set !

  21. VSE

    Once I didn’t have any bread for French toast for breakfast so I took pitas, soaked them in eggs and milk and fried them in butter. Lo and behold, they puffed up to make French pita balloons — a great hit with kids and a perfect hands-on physics lesson for the didactically inclined.

  22. jessica

    these look amazing! how well do you think this would work with gluten-free baking flour? i just found out that i can’t eat wheat and i am looking for good bread alternatives.

  23. Thomas

    The thing I’ve found when making pita bread (the recipe I’ve been using for the last 5 or so years is almost identical to yours) is when rolling the dough into balls before flattening it, it is vital that the surface of the dough ball is smooth, any wrinkles or seams where two pieces of dough are not completely joined will create holes during cooking, letting out the steam and stopping the pita puffing.

    I’ve found the easiest way to accomplish this is to hold your hand as if you were gripping something the size of a billiards ball, with your pinky and thumb almost flat on the bench. On a clean bench (flour is bad here, you need some friction between the dough and bench), rotate your hand in a circle – with no flour you should find the dough rolls around in your caged hand while staying a little bit stuck to the bench. In 5-10 seconds, you should have a completely smooth ball with all the “edges” of the dough rolled to the bottom. After flattening with the rolling pin (feel free to use as much flour as you like at this point) you should wind up with a flat, featureless disk, which should puff perfectly.

    I think I might have just got inspired to cook something and photograph it this weekend.

  24. Yael

    Ah man, seeing as I live in Israel – where a five-minute drive to the 24/7 Arab supermaket can get me wonderful fresh pitas for about, oh, a dime or so each – this recipe just makes me smile and shake my head. But you know what, if my hopes of being accepted to a PhD stateside will be realised, I will proabbly be very happy to have it. So thanks in advance. :)

  25. Sara M

    I have something, that as an excellent chef, I am so very sad to admit. I have no idea what a “scant 1/4 cup” means and how it’s different than a regular 1/4 cup….


  26. I tried this recipe a while back, and I am sorry to say that I was not a huge fan. These pitas were great to look at, puffed up beautifully, etc, but I felt they were kinda lacking in taste. Maybe its because I prefer the more robust taste of whole wheat pitas. I’ve been meaning to give those a shot. Beautiful pics.

  27. Jimmie

    I was literally just thinking today that I need to learn to make pita bread.

    By the way, it’s not up and running yet, but I wanted to let you know that you (and my almost-finished journalism degree) have inspired me to start my own food blog.

    I will let you know when I’ve launched it!

  28. Natalie

    Mom and I used to make pita bread when I was in elementary school. She was in charge of rolling and flattening the dough, and my job was to put them in the oven, watch them puff, and take them out. We made a great team!

    Then we moved to a larger city, and you could buy pita there. Eventually we stopped making them, which was too bad because our homemade ones tasted better, and are much more fun.

  29. Verydeliciousveg

    So Beautiful!!!! I lust!!!

    I fear making any type bread…. I told myself I MUST do it sometime here in ’09

  30. Kathy Sheets

    Here’s a really really terrific recipe for those who are lazy like me and would like to let the bread machine do most of the work:

    I do use half white whole wheat flour. After the pitas are rolled, I put my hand under running water and then run my fingers over each pita so thesurface is wet. I never seem to be able to find my water spritzer. Then I cover then with a damp towel for the rise. This recipe takes me 2 1/2 hours, from start to beautifully puffed pitas! We are addicted and I rarely make any other type of bread anymore. The exception is hamburger/hotdog buns and they’re easy to make, too.

  31. Great recipe! If you are in the market for a new stone and would like to be able to easily exchange stones in the future I suggest going through Pampered Chef. One of my stones shattered in the oven and all they needed to do an exchange for me was a small piece of it. Hope this helps your future stone cooking!

  32. Nancy from PA

    I’ve actually made the whole wheat version from The Bread Bible using my Lodge cast iron griddle across 2 burners on my gas cooktop. I can attest it is a super simple recipe. And, totally delicious! I

  33. Nancy from PA

    And, if there are any leftovers, use Ellie Krieger’s (from Food Network’s Healthy Appetite) recipe for spiced pita chips . Yum!

  34. I’ll have to try your recipe – I’ve tried two different ones so far and haven’t been able to get the pocket. They puff alright, but they’re solid bread all the way through. Still great for dipping into hummus (and one batch was great toasted like English muffins) but not what I wanted. I suspected that I needed something to add a little extra moisture; spritzing sounds like a perfect solution! Hopefully this time it’ll work – I’ve yet to have anything I got from you to fail so far! Thanks :)

  35. I’ve been looking for a recipe for pitas for a few weeks now, I’ll have to go ahead and give this one a try. I love the step by step photos, it really helps understand the process!

  36. Thanks Deb – This looks as perfect and easy as your rosemary flatbread!
    *cough* you wouldn’t have a similar recipe for olive bread – pretty please?

  37. Mrs.TeaPie

    Sara 50- A scant measurement means just a little bit less. So a scant 1/4 Cup is less than a full quarter cup.

  38. Very impressive! Pita was always one of those baked goods I usually leave to the pros, such as baguettes and filo dough, but these look doable and like they’d be meltingly delicious with homemade falafal and babaganoush.

  39. Deb,
    Any idea why you have to press the dough down during the first four hours of the cold rise? I make pita at home using a different recipe, but have never heard the pressing-the-dough-down advice before. I’d be interested to know what the idea behind it might be.
    Thanks –

  40. GT

    @16 (Megan) — the advantage would be that I can have pita whenever I have the time to make it … and some of us don’t live in a city where you can get fresh pita at a store.

  41. latenac

    These look fabulous. I like how thin they are. To me that makes it Syrian bread rather than pita which is often too thick, my mother’s family is Lebanese. You could also take the dough and instead of making the loaves, make small circles you stuff with spinach and pine nuts or ground beef or lamb with pine nuts and bake them to make meat or spinach pies.

  42. JR

    Pitas are easy to freeze, and bring out to eat one, or two at a time. I usually pop in the micro for 10 seconds, and then the toaster for a SHORT bit.
    What do you call pita bread that failed to puff? Flatbread, Naan, Gordita… TASTY anyway!

  43. Yum! These look soo good! I absolutely love fresh pita bread, but never thought to try to make it. I’m glad to know that it’s not that hard to do – definitely going to have to give it a try!

  44. Molly

    This is one of the few breads where the “Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day” method makes sense because you can just pull a couple gobs of dough out of the refrigerator, roll them out and pop them into the oven without waiting for your big gob of dough to warm up and rise.

  45. wes

    I used to have recipe for whole wheat pita bread that worked the first time I tried it; I never knew there was a problem with getting them to be pitas and not flatbread. Hmmm…I wonder where that recipe went.

  46. deb

    Jessica — I have never made bread with gluten-free flour and am certainly not an authority on gluten-free cooking (you should check out Gluten-Free Girl or others of the hundreds of gluten-free food blogs for advice) … however, I would be wary. Gluten is an essential part of the bread-making process — a recipe specifically geared towards gluten-free bread making would be a better place to start.

  47. Alyxherself

    Hail from Fl. Isn’t warm weather great? Question..lately i’ve been into alternative flours like spelt and amaranth, can I use the or cut them like witht he whole wheat? Whatchoo think? its an insulin resistance/gluten hates me/nutrition thing.Anyway beautiful post.

  48. These look excellent, and very straight-forwards; leave it to Beranbaum, I guess!

    For baking — especially for the artisanal long-rise approach — I really love Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb. If you don’t know it, definitely worth a look. I started baking with Bernard Clayton, but Reinhart has changed the way I look at the topic.

    (I know, I know — opinions from random yahoos on the internet are always suspect. All the same: Reinhart is incredible.)

    A lovely blog, by the by. Excellent photography — something I could learn from.


  49. Glenda

    BLESS YOU!!! I have tried several times to make pitas… ending up with flat bread. I skipped the recipe that called for breaking the lock on the self cleaning of my oven. This recipe looks easy enough to do on a regular basis. And thank you for adding the whole wheat variations.
    Have a BLESSED DAY

  50. KT

    What a great review! I always turn to the Bread Bible as my resource for trying any new breads, but it’s a big commitment since her recipes are typically very labor intensive. Thanks to your trial and error, this will hopefully be painless – I’ll be sure to have my spray bottle of water handy!

  51. Shirow66

    I must say I’m a bit confused about puffiness mentioned here as something to strive for. I’m pretty sure a pita bread is supposed to be flat. I’ve never seen a puffy pita bread in my life, although I must admit I haven’t seen many freshly made ones. There are plenty of similar breads like naan, and those breads they serve in Turkey that look like a balloon, that are puffy, but pita? Anyone else agree with me on this?

  52. I last made pitas (whole wheat ones) following the instructions in The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. She has you cook them on the bottom of the oven if you have a gas oven. You remove the racks first, of course. She doesn’t mention spritzing. Now I’ll have to try spritzing them!

    I make chapatis and I cook them on a skillet. They puff up some, but not quite as much as a pita. They always deflate quite a bit immediately.

    I’ll have to try yours with all-purpose flour as well!

  53. These look so delicious! There are many kinds of pita bread out there in the world, but ones that are puffy when hot are the best.That pocket of steamy hot air inside makes for the best texture. Can’t wait to try!

  54. Stuff

    We often buy the smaller pitas that are the size of a.. Canadian Twoonie if your familiar with that. Do you think this recipe would work on a smaller size pita rather then making a full size pita?

  55. deb

    The recipe says that you can divide the dough into either 8 or 12 pieces. What you see is the larger (8) size, mostly because it was getting late and I was trying to get them done faster! 12 pieces should make the traditional mini-pita size. I am sure you can make them even smaller, but you might need to dial back the baking time ever so slightly.

  56. Emily

    I made these today (well, today and yesterday, as I let the dough ferment overnight) and they puffed perfectly :-) Thank you, I definitely enjoyed making this simple and delicious recipe! Will be making again in the future!

  57. I love your recipes, I drool over the pix. I am an avid bread maker, and will definitely try the pitas, I hate the ones at the local stores, they seem to be stale all the time!.

  58. deb

    Sharon — You might consider it, as it is far more stable than active dry yeast. Instant yeast is equivalent to 3/4 the volume of active dry yeast.

  59. Jen

    Woohoo! I just made these and they puffed perfectly the first time. I made them with 50% whole wheat bread flour and let them sit in the fridge for 3 days before baking. Sooo much better than any other pita I’ve tried.

  60. I agree on the “buy an unglazed tile” advice. Mine is currently destroyed as well– cracked in half and unappetizing looking– but since I paid very little for it, I don’t care very much.

  61. Katie in China

    I just made these – yum!! I let the dough sit in the fridge for almost 48 hours. After I rolled it out, the rounds felt a bit dry. I don’t have a spray bottle, so I just set them down on my clean, damp kitchen table, then flipped them over individually onto the baking sheet. They puffed beautifully! We ate them with the cranberry-walnut chicken salad, to which I added leeks, cherry tomatoes and mint leaves. Happiness!

  62. lavande

    Hey, Deb, thank you for your recipe, it’s really nice. I just tried it but what happened was that the first bread puffed perfectly just as it should but the rest couldn’t puff… I sprinkled them with water but it didn’t work. Do you have any idea what might have caused this and how to avoid this next time? I thought it might have turned this way because the oven lost heat as I opened it to put in and out the first bread. I spared some of the dough for later and would really like to know what to do to have it puff :-). Thank you in advance.

  63. Shayna

    I made these last night, I was only successful in getting them to puff when the dough was very wet and thin, most puffed a little but not like the pillow that I got one or two to become. But they are still deliscious even not fully puffed. I enjoyed them with some hummus and a big fat glass of red wine :)

    I made a half recipe and made little pitas (I had eight pieces still) I am definitely going to try making them again, next time on the stove top. which may be easier since all I have is a cast iron pan. They remind me of the Poori my ex’s mother made and will be great with chana masala or that black-eyed pea goan curry that you made, that has become a staple in my kitchen.

  64. deb

    Lavande — The recipe says that if spritzing (not sprinkling) them with water doesn’t work to make them puff, that you should spray and knead each remaining piece, let them rest again and then reroll them — did you do this step and it still didn’t work? It also says to allow your oven five minutes reheat between batches — it is not clear whether you did this either.

  65. Jessica

    I was so excited to try. My family and I love hummus and I never even thougth making my own pitas was an option. The pitas turned out perfectly!! I will never buy pitas again. btw my 5 year old loved how they puffed up in the oven (my little chef in training!!)

  66. Cleo

    I just wanted to say how perfectly these worked out. Both of my roommates think I’m some kind of genius now, and all I can do is deflect some of their praise to you! Thanks again for this recipe and all the others!

  67. Jan

    I adapted your technique to make naan bread. I used a cast iron pan and the broiler to mimic a tandoor or clay oven. Move the rack to the top and turn the broiler on high. Get a cast iron skillet hot on top of the stove and drop your rolled out naan into it. Then slide the skillet into the oven. This mimics the bread being stuck to the wall of the tandoor. Watch it thru the cracked oven door. When the top starts to blister pull it out. Then spread butter on top. We usually eat the first two out of the oven by themselves. Hot naan at home.

  68. Eric the Red

    Here is the definition of pita:

    round, brown, wheat flatbread made with yeast.


    For the Greek souvlaki pita: Using wheat flour, water, some yeast and a tint of salt one prepares the dough. After some time, so that the yeast acts, the dough rises. Then this is shaped in a thin layer, in the dimensions and thickness required. This thin dough is then cooked in a stone floor oven, for the traditional Greek recipe, or over a thin, preferably convex, metal sheet over a fire, for the traditional Arab recipe.

    Your puffy bread looks awesome but I wouldn’t call it pita.

  69. deb

    Eric — There are many types of pita in the world, I am surprised I have to point this out — Turkish, Bulgarian and Greek are most common plus various Middle Eastern and North African versions. Some have pockets, some do not.

    The puffiness in the bread is the pocket. It does not stay puffy once cool.

  70. Suzie

    umm pitta bread is an unleavened flat bread suitable for religions that do not allow leavened breads either at all or on certain days. the bread is flat when made but if when you reheat it you wet under a tap it will puff up allowing you to fill the pocket with houmous and red pesto or harissa – yum yum

  71. I made this today and it turned out wonderful! Thanks so much for all the helpful tips and detailed instructions. I published a post with some photos and linked to your recipe.

  72. Julia

    I just made your pita for a group of friends. I was so excited that they actually ballooned! My friends finished off the entire batch in twenty minutes, so I’m definitely going to need to make them again soon! Thanks for the recipe!

  73. This might be a stupid question, but I saw that someone mentioned this was an “unleavened” bread. But this recipe has yeast, so doesn’t that make it leavened?

    I’ve got a batch of dough in the fridge that I made last night (so far it has come out beautifully). I’m going to finish it tonight and serve it with your lamb kefta and grilled zucchini. Can’t wait! Thanks for the great recipe(s).

  74. deb

    I honestly have no idea where that person came up with the idea that pita is unleavened — perhaps some versions are, but every recipe I have ever seen contains yeast.

  75. Rebecca

    This looks great! And yes, pita is leavened. I think the unleavened bread Suzie is thinking of is Matzah (or Matzo)- eaten by Jews on Passover. It’s totally different than pita, more like a cracker.

  76. That’s what I thought. I saw them refer to pita as unleavened on Family Guy, so maybe it’s just a common misconception. Has anyone tried Peter Reinhart’s pita recipe? I just got Bread Baker’s Apprentice today.

  77. Probably healthier than anything you’d buy in a store considering they all pump their foods full of chemicals ‘to preserve freshness’ and ‘to preserve color.’

    I stumbled here, will be giving it a thumbs up so other stumblers will see it too. :)

    Take care.

  78. So mine didn’t puff… and after I tasted one and realized how DELICIOUS they were going to be, I didn’t care. I think if I had taken the care to make sure they were moist enough, it would have worked beautifully, but I was too lazy to mess with them. Especially after I scorched my finger on the top rack that I was too lazy to remove from the oven (see the trend here?). But, I just wanted to say that puffed or not these were AWESOME. Almost as awesome as the lamb kefta I ate them with. Almost. It was totally worth blistering my finger.

  79. charlotte

    This looks great, but I wanted to plug Mark Bittman’s great pita recipe. It’s a little easier than this one and puffs beautifully.

  80. I have had zero luck with pita recipes (yup, delicious flatbread, but sometimes you want to stuff them with cheese and avocado and sprouts and other goodness and flatbread doesn’t work), but I’m really glad I tried this one. I actually did a victory shout when I opened the oven and saw a beautiful puffy pita waiting for me. Thanks!

  81. I’ve had quit a bit of luck baking this recipe on a gas barbecue – easy, and fun to do outside alongside veggies to go inside the pitas.

    My only other suggestion – resting the dough between shaping and baking seems to be the most important rest for successful pocket formation. If you’re in a hurry, you can skimp on the other rise time, but giving the pitas a good 20-30 minutes after you shape them is key to pocketing.

  82. colleen

    double thumbs up by my 3 and 6 year old. thumbs up for me, especially given the creative liberties I took with this recipe…
    1. used all white whole wheat flour & eliminated the scant 1/4 cup. I am good at bread baking through sheer dumb luck; I SO am not good at exact measurements. and oh yeah, I SO did not hand knead the dough for the full time, but I must admit I did let it rest & was amazed at how easy it made things.
    2. my refrigerator rise did not go well. at all. it was nonexistent. I gave up after 24+ hours & threw the whole thing in the warming drawer for 3 hours or so.
    4. rolled out the disks, left them on the counter, covered them well with plastic wrap & headed out the door (karate class for the kiddies, ya know how that goes) for 1 1/2 hours.
    5. I used MINIMAL flour & rolled half the disks & let them sit on the counter for a good 20+ minutes while the oven finished heating.
    6. tossed a trial one in the oven and hoped for the best…it was MAGIC! didn’t even need to spritz.

    soooo… my not so scientific consensus is a) these babies can’t proof or rest for too long if they are well covered, and my Mario Batali pizza stone pan is the bomb. the kiddies are in for a breakfast treat tomorrow- homemade pitas stuffed with cheesy scrambled eggs. yum!

  83. EK

    I made these this weekend and they are a hit! Chicken salad was made for stuffing, but it turns out we put alomst anything in them- including scrambled eggs. I did need to spritz the tops with water and then they pufffed up just right.

  84. Kay

    i’m late to this post but just wanted to say that atta is indian, not middle eastern! “atta” means “whole wheat flour” in hindi. just fyi :)

  85. Katie

    I’m not sure if someone else has posted this, and I’m sure you know by now. “Pizza stones” can be replaced for mere pennies with an unfinished porcelain or clay large piece of tile from any home improvement store. We’re talking max. 5 bucks! Best deal for replacement stones!

  86. These are awesome!!!! I made these yesterday. It was sooo much fun to watch them blow into balloons in the oven. I used a cast iron skillet and found that I had enough time to let one bake as I prepared the next disk. I did not let them cold rise…instead chose to rise them till double at room temperature (about 1hr). Makes great pitas…and makes good flatbread if you have one or two that doesn’t come out right. We ate these with steak, corn, lettuce, salsa :)

  87. Stef

    Hi Deb! I just made this recipe last night and it was such fun to watch these blobs rise so beautifully! I was a bit worried because I used active dry yeast, but apparently that made no difference!

    I do have to say though that this line sounds like craziness to me “Preheat the oven to 475°F one hour before baking.” Once it reaches its pre-set level of hotness, its not going to get any hotter. Maybe its because you’re using a pizza stone or cast iron skillet, and they take longer to heat up? The 1/16″ thick baking sheet certainly heats up as fast as the rest of the oven, and I doubt that a cast iron skillet would take all that long. Seems like a huge waste of resources to me…

    But other than that, thanks for a great pita recipe!!! I had one for lunch and iit was delicious as well as much admired by my co-workers ;)

  88. Scott

    Using a baking stone is the only way to go. Your rustic breads come out great. The only problem is that it takes a long time for it to heat up. So yes depending on your oven it may take up to 1 hour to pre-heat the stone. Mine takes about 45 minutes to heat all the way. Hope this helps you understand the one hour pre-heat. And yes cast iron will take longer to heat also. about 30 minutes for my skillet. and 1 1/4 hour for the dutch oven to reach 450 F.

  89. Kate

    Deb, I love your site. I made these (with bread flour!) and they cooked up beautifully. One question, though – and this applies to bread making in general. I let the dough sit in the fridge overnight, per your recommendation. When I shaped the pitas tonight, the dough smelled fermented, a bit like the artisanal cheese section at Whole Foods. Is that a bad thing? Thanks!

  90. Michellers

    Made these last week and they were fun. The dough was incredibly sticky and tough to deal with, but I love a dough that likes to rise in the fridge. I didn’t get a lot of puffing, but I also couldn’t find my spray bottle and didn’t take the time to massage in more water, as my guests were waiting for their pita, which I served with a Cooks Illustrated falafel recipe (highly recommend it). Everything was a big hit but I ate the pita the next day and they were even better, so next time I would make the pita ahead of time.

  91. Alan

    Yes Yes Yes!! They puffed up like party balloons, each and every one, just in time for a greek food dinner party. I may have added extra water in my desire to have a sufficiently wet dough the first time. Let rise in fridge overnight. Dough was too sticky to roll, but only added flour to the rolling pin and surface so the inside would stay extra moist. Covered with damp towel for 20 minutes then handled as little as possible on way into oven. Didn’t have luck with the stovetop method (last time I tried this, although there were also problems with the dough being cold and tough), but on the pizza stone in the oven, which was so hot I was getting a little burned without touching it (45 minute preheat), they quickly puffed.
    For the people wondering if these are way better than store-bought, uhhh, maybe not other than being fresh out of your oven, but this recipe is spot-on and not too time consuming–although it does take space, so if you get any satisfaction out of successfully making things yourself you might go for it.

  92. td

    So, it didn’t work. from the beginning! My dough didn’t even rise. Why would this happen to me? Boo. I say: Boo. I was not in any mood to have pita that didn’t work. I wanted pita to work. I didn’t think it’d make a difference (and had a bad experience before…) but I put the plastic wrap touching the top of the dough in the fridge. Is this my problem? Once before I didn’t have the plastic wrap touching the dough and it got all crusty and hard, before I baked it, if that had happened after I baked then props to me, but it didn’t. So I say again: boo to my bread baking methods. Not to your recipe contributions. Those I adore.

  93. Mar

    I just made these with 50% whole wheat flour. It worked out great. The only thing is that I used the 1 1/2 cup of water as suggested and it was way too wet. So I had to keep kneading in flour until the dough got to a good consistency. I divided the dough into 12 pieces. I found the smaller pieces were easier to handle when transferring to the cast iron skillet in the oven. Also, when I rolled out the portions of dough into disks, the dough would resist and curl back. So I left the disks out to rest for 5 min and rolled them out again so they would get thinner. I had to do this a couple of times until I got them to under 1/4 inch.

  94. Carey

    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve been searching for a good pita bread recipe and my search is now over. I used the wheat variation, refrigerated the dough to add more flavor, and baked them and they turned out perfect. They’ve been requested again less than a week later, so I’m off to make some more.

  95. I (and it sounds like I’m not the only one) have been searching for a real pita recipe for months. This worked beautifully. They came out perfectly puffy and delicious. Thanks so much.

  96. judy bernstein bunzl

    Was one of the unlucky many to loose all power this weekend. So with the last power on my iphone I searched for stove top pita bread recipes. Was excited when my favorite blog came up, Smitten Kitchen. Under candlelight and with my cast iron griddle on my gas stove, I made the whole wheat(used about 80% white whole wheat flour) pita bread. Even got it to puff up when I spritzed it just before placing on griddle pan. Yummy. Monday, when power was restored and the dry ice kept my refrigerator and freezer ‘alive’ I baked the rest of the pita dough in the oven. It even puffed up without the spritzing. Yummy again.

  97. Danielle

    Thank you for another awesome recipe. I don’t think I’ll ever use my bread machine again, making bread from scratch is easy and the results are incredible.

  98. Melissa


    I am a proficient cook, yet I have had difficulty finding a successful pita bread recipe where the pitas puff every time. Today I have mastered the technique with your recipe and I wanted to thank you. The two most important points that you offer are not to use too much flour so the pita doesn’t dry out, and heating the oven at 5 minutes intervals after taking the pita out. My pitas puffed so fast…it did not take more than two minutes each time. I would only add to heat the oven at 515 rather then 475 degrees. The hotter the better! Thanks again.

  99. These look fantastic! After reading the comments, I’m even more excited. I noticed another who leaves their stone in the oven at all times- I do this as well. I do feel it helps my oven hold a more constant temp…and I have a couple of pampered chef brand stones which I’ve had for 10 years (one I even use on the grill to make pizzas…no cracking!). Also—someone commented about why you would have to preheat your oven for so long…etc. If you have an oven thermometer, you may find that just b/c your oven “says” it’s preheated (you know, beeps at you…) doesn’t mean it’s actually up to temp…mine takes longer than the oven’s own preheat setting to really come up to temp…I know this b/c I keep an oven thermometer in there and it takes a while. So, I think the key is…just make sure it’s actually up to temp and don’t necessarily trust the oven’s settings(mine is waay off!)
    These just look divine…off to the kitchen!!!

  100. Katie

    Oh my gosh these are so good. My boyfriend and I cooked up some of these, and they were amazingly delicious. I was a bit nervous, as I’d never baked bread-stuffs before* but they were easy and straightforward and they came out great! Thank you so much for another wonderful walkthrough!
    (*There have been a few prior attempts, but we don’t talk about those.)

  101. Hannah

    These were amazing! I know most people want the pockets, but I don’t (I always find that they tear really easily and don’t hold a lot of stuff) Anyways I made them on the stove top b/c it’s so hot right now and i didn’t want the oven on. I added greek seasoning and thyme for some extra flavor and they turned out great! They were super soft and fluff on the inside and slightly crispy (from the oil) on the outside. Again so good-I don’t know if it was the recipe or stovetop b/c I’ve tried many different pita recipes. Again thanks!!

  102. Chris

    I’ve made other flat breads before, and this is hands down the best. The spritzing-at-the-last-minute suggestion worked wonders, and even the pieces that didn’t puff up were amazing. Thanks much!

  103. D

    Is the extra water in the whole wheat version if you do half and half with the flour, or only for the 100% white whole wheat flour? That may be obvious, but I’m a newbie at bread-making.

  104. I’m confused about the rising time. So you can let it rise from anywhere between 1 1/2 hrs to 3 days? I made 2 batches of this pita and let each one rise, I’d say, for about 8 hrs, part of the time in the fridge and part of the time out of the fridge (didn’t know how fast or slow it was going to rise), and mine puffed a little but nothing like yours. They were basically flatbreads but did have pockets, and they were delicious! But could the not puffing have anything to do with rising times and/or temperature?

  105. deb

    The three days would be in the fridge, which would slow the dough’s development to almost a halt. You’d take it out a couple hours before you want to bake it. The slower rise in the fridge tends to develop better flavors, but both work.

  106. THANK YOU. Your recipes are amazing. I had to bake pita breads for a chef I absolutely admire and had to bring something good. Since it was my first time baking these at home, I was nervous but they turned out fabulous. I added a bit of rye flour and rosemary :)

  107. m

    Thanks for the recipe! Didn’t see this addressed… is it possible to use bread flour instead of unbleached all purpose? What would be the adjustment to the recipe if any? Thanks! :)

  108. Adrianne

    I mixed this up last night in my new Magimix food processor. Took less than a minute to mix it all. It’s puffing up nicely in the fridge, and I can’t wait to bake them. I’m not too concerned if it puffs or not – I’m not patient enough to fill the bread without ripping the pockets, so I always just wrap them around the food like flatbread. Thanks for sharing this wonderfully easy recipe!

  109. How on earth did I miss this recipe? I’ve been looking for a pita bread recipe for months and only found this when I was searching the site for bread recipes. I’ll make them, because I haven’t had a bad experience with any recipe I’ve found here. Thanks for the awesome recipes, Deb.

  110. Robin

    I know I’m about two years late to the party here but just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I’ve recently been trying out homemade pita (the stuff our grocery store carries isn’t even your basic not-so-good-but-ok stuff. It’s actually downright awful. I’ve tried a couple of recipes so far (both from other blogs) and I decided I needed one with an overnight rise. I was going to try it on my own this weekend but I’m very glad to have your recipe to work from instead.

    Up until recently we’d been buying pita from a Lebanese restaurant nearby but they closed down. By the way, in reference to the eejit who said that this shouldn’t be called pita – my grandmother was born in Lebanon, my grandfather was born in Egypt, and both of them expected their bread to have a pocket. How else could you eat tabbouleh??? :)

    Anyway, don’t know if you’ll get this, but I love your site. You’ll get credit if my dinner goes well – I’ll be making the pita and also the newer baked spinach recipe you posted, and a lamb very similar to the kebab recipe you posted. So… THANKS!!! :)

  111. surekha

    This is the best recipe for pita bread. I make it all the time. So easy. They all rise and so soft. Thankyou you for sharing.

  112. Sue

    Just wanted to ask you, if you could advise please.
    Would the 3 minutes cooking on the stove be enough to cook up the yeast thoroughly?
    I don’t want to use the oven when it’s so hot! :)
    thanks very much!!

  113. Anna

    Deb, I have to thank you not only for the fantastic pita bread, but also for your site in general — I’m a college student who just recently has started to cook for herself, and your recipes have been a great source of inspiration! (Not to mention your wonderful photography and writing.) I have so many more things bookmarked, so consider this a thank you for many times to come!

  114. FB

    I don’t understand why so many individuals are complaining… And why the Bread Authorities have seen fit to make an appearance. Pita has pockets. That eshh puffs in the oven. Otherwise how would you get the pocket?

    Anyways. I used chapati flour (aka atta flour) (I’m assuming people reading this recipe are not from rural areas, so there is a middle eastern and/or indian market somewhere around you. Go pick up a bag and stop using the crappy stuff you buy at the big chain grocer). I was lazy on the kneading, threw that sucka in the fridge, and 2 days later had a nice puffy WET dough.

    Did it puff perfectly? yes and yes. My only change to the recipe was adding about a teaspoon and a half of sugar (I used turbinado) to the yeast/water.

  115. I saw this post in passing somehow last week, when I had already put hummus and pitas on my menu board. I made the pitas for the first time tonight. I had one that puffed brilliantly, then the others, not so much. “Where did I just see that article about getting them to puff?…”
    Thank you, Google, for finding me your post the second time around!

  116. pamela

    Quick comment: I think the measurement for the salt is wrong? Two teaspoons of salt isn’t 13 grams or 1/2 oz, it’s more like 6 grams or 1/8 oz.

    That said, I’ve made this a bunch of times, and it’s delish :)

  117. deb

    Hi Pamela — The official weight of table salt is 6 grams per teaspoon (according to the package) and about what I get on my scale. If Kosher salt, it would be about 3 grams per teaspoon for Diamond brand and 4.5ish grams per teaspoon for Morton or a more standard coarse brand. I hope that helps.

  118. Michelle

    Just made these and they turned out fantastic! Fluffy with a nice pocket in the middle and a fabulous taste. I’m gonna try em whole wheat next time. Thanks so much!

  119. First let me say how happy I am that most times I want a recipe, you always have one for me.
    You are my go to and you seldom let me down.
    Thank you for that.
    For instance, I made your brown butter cookies the other day.
    Oh. My. Gosh.
    My favorite brown butter cookie ever is from a little bakery in the tiny, central California town of Cayucos.
    The Brown Butter Cookie Company makes killer cookies.
    I get them once a year when we go up there for vacation.
    Your cookies are very, very nicely filling in the gap until next September.
    But this was supposed to be about the pita.
    I want to make homemade pita bread for a Maundy Thursday dinner this week.
    I look to you.
    Here it is and I can’t wait to try it.
    Looking through all the comments, I have to laugh at how uptight people are about whether or not this is a pita.
    I am sure it gets annoying to you, but it is giving me a chuckle.
    Can’t wait to try the recipe out this afternoon and see how delicious it is.
    Again, thanks for always being there/here for me.
    Love from,

  120. Amber

    I tried this recipe…. I did everything the way it said and they didn’t puff up so now my question is… Is it because I used rapid rise yeast instead of instant yeast?

    1. deb

      Rapid rise yeast and instant yeast should be the same thing. It could have been the age of the yeast or just the temperature of your place — if a bit cooler, it might have needed more time. In general, it’s best to go by visible signs of doneness (doubled dough, etc) rather than rising times, which are just estimates. Hope that helps.

  121. Lloyd

    Thanks so much. I have been trying different flat breads. We do green onion cakes and tortillas. I cooked thes on the barbecue because I didn’t want the oven on. A couple minutes was all it took. I got them to puff up perfectly and my wife was amazed that they had a pocket.

    Really appreciate the tips and the pictures.

  122. Faith

    I just built a WFO (wood fired oven) out back. Did you know that you can purchase “split” firebricks at a brick yard for about $1.50 ea.? You need 6 for a home size oven. Four in the front, and two in the back. Works AWESOME as a bread/pizza stone, and won’t shatter like the other ones do. It will take a bit longer to preheat in your oven, but they work great! Plus, the surface area you get is bigger than most pizza stones you can buy at a store, and they’re cheap! Just look for Firebrick “splits”! :) Can’t wait to try the pitas, will be throwing them in WFO! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  123. queenie5181

    I couldn’t have been more proud of myself when these turned out well! I cooked these on the stovetop, using a Le Creuset cast-iron griddle, and my husband and I watched with wonder as the pita ballooned. I think there were some fist pumps involved, too. Thank you, as always.

  124. Divya

    Hello! I used this recipe and my pitas came out great, especially because I maintained a wet dough. I only got the first pita to puff up beautifully, but I know the rolling takes practice to get it thin enough for the puffing! Thank you!

  125. Les N.

    Deb… regarding Amber’s question and your answer, I’d like to offer the following insight… I don’t believe that the rise of pita bread in the oven is the same mechanism as rising while proofing.

    The timescale in the oven is just much shorter than the timescale on which yeast operates. Also the shape is so thin that the temperature very quickly kills the yeast.

    I believe that oven rise is due only to steam being generated within the dough. So moist dough is more important than which type of yeast… this is why the original Bread Bible recipe suggests spritzing and re-kneading if you’re not getting oven spring.
    What do you think?

  126. deb

    Yes, I agree, this is true. But rapid rise yeast definitely cannot replace active dry in a recipe and proof in the same amount of time. So, it had some ill effect, possibly “puff”.

  127. Sarah

    hi deb, i didn’t keep the dough overnight because i didn’t read the whole recipe and didnt plan ahead – i needed the bread for dinner immediately, so i just mixed the dough, leave it as long as i can while preparing the rest of the dinner (probably around 30 minutes or so) and it actually turned out awesome! if “poofed” and it was soft and yummy, just as i wanted. this will be my favourite pita recipe and next time when i make it i will make sure to follow the instructions 100%…
    thanks again

  128. Sarah

    btw, not to mislead others, it “poofed” but i think it would have ballooned better if i kept it overnight as per the instructions, but still, using the limited time i had, this recipe worked out fine…

  129. Ceri

    First time ever making Pita Bread and I made a triple batch (-: Go big or go home! I had to punch it down a few times, but I am assuming that because of the volume it took a while for the dough to cool enough to no longer rise. Had an appetizer only dinner with a group of friends yesterday and it was great to have a constant supply of fresh, beautifully poofed pita bread. Thanks! Any plans for coming to Atlanta on your book tour?

  130. Dennis Wagner

    This is a fantastic recipe. We were going to buy pita’s to go with some shwarma but these were way better than the ones from the store. I will be making these again.

  131. I am grateful to my google search which led me to your blog. This is an awesome site and I love both your writing and the pictures. I made the pita breads and my family enjoyed the flavor and texture of this homemade bread over any we have bought so far. Thank you for a keeper recipe and I will be back for more.

  132. Laura W.

    After trying out grilled pizza, I had the suspicion that pita, too, might be just be amazing on the grill…and it is! I preheated the grill on high (about 500ish F) for about 10 minutes and gave the pitas 1.5 minutes a side. They puffed beautifully and came out with some nice grill marks.

  133. kimchi

    I love this recipe. I’ve made it 6 times since discovering it 4 weeks ago. I don’t heat the oven up for an hour since I make the pitas to be served fresh out of the oven and don’t care to add several dollars to my electric bill every time I make two pitas. They still puff, but not completely. I cut them in half with kitchen scissors and use a serrated paring knife to cut them apart where they’re stuck. It works nicely. I’ve also made bread sticks from it (wonderful flavor!) and put meat and cheese on a piece of super thin dough and made it into a pasty style stick and baked it (very nice!). It’s a flexible dough recipe. Perfect! Thank you.

  134. Jennifer

    This is a great recipe to make with kids! The dough’s not sticky, it’s easy for little fingers to shape, smush, roll out, and spritz the disks, and you can task them to watch for the ballooning in the oven. Then scarf down with homemade hummus :)

  135. Morgan

    I made these for a (loosely) themed egyptian dinner party this evening and I just snuck one- they are delicious! I rolled out the circles a bit too large and thin, so it came out more naan-like than pita, but it’s still super!

  136. glee

    Hope this works. Made them last night from another web recipe on the stovetop w/the cast iron pan, and mine didn’t puff, but were still delish. Trying again tonight in oven w/pizza stone.

  137. Kasie

    I made this for the first time last week and was surprised by how perfectly and AMAZINGLY the pita came out! Now a staple in my kitchen!

  138. Ildi

    100% success! I’ve tried another recipe earlier full of hocus-pocus how to make your pitas puffy, turn them like this, place them like that…I feel funny now :) Apparently it’s all about the moist. These are just perfect, yummy and sooooo PUFFY! Thank you so much!

  139. Shauna

    This is my first time on your site. I was so impressed with the pita recipe. I have tried them over 5 times and they always fell and dried up rock hard as soon as they cooled off. I tried this recipe with the water spritzing (and simple slapping the dough onto the pans that was hot in the oven) and they turned out perfectly. My only problem was I could not sit down to eat the home made humus that I had prepared because the bread kept disappearing off the plate so fast that I had to keep slapping those puppies in the oven. Needless to say, everyone was so impressed with your recipe and said the pitas turned out perfect. I just became a big fan and will be back to your blog/sit/whatever it is that you do. :)

  140. Shanthi

    Just tried it out. It was AWESOME. We had puffy pita – and it is gone in record time. For the first time, I have the confidence!!!

  141. Jules

    Just made these and they are da bomb, like all your recipes!! BTW, I used 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast, (for people asking about substitutions), and white whole wheat flour and they turned out perfect.

  142. Greg

    I just made these pitas minutes ago! So light, so fluffy, so good! Superior to store bought in every way. I made the dough last night and let it refrigerate for about 12 hours. The recipe was easy. I have some adjustments to do to correct for size, thickness, but the flavor is out of this world. Thinking of making another batch to use as a pizza crust as the cooked product is so light , chewy, and wonderful. Thanks for the recipe, and the water tip really worked well. Anyone thinking of making these should do so.

  143. Greg

    Update: I used this recipe to make a great pizza dough. I changed nothing except to roll the dough out into a pizza size (it made two 15 inch pizzas), top it, and cook it on a preheated pizza stone. The result was a pizza with a crisp crust on the bottom, light and fluffy above, with an edge crust that was soft, airy and chewy. WOW.

  144. Just like Greg, I’ve used this dough to make some excellent pizza too. Just rolled it out thicker, slathered on tomato sauce I had made. The sauce already had some chorizo, prawns and smoked paprika in it ju just added torn bits of mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil before baking. Sprinkled with parsley and served. A-mazing pizza and an incredible crunchy, light and flavourful crust.

  145. Ratih

    After failing twice using different recipes, I tried yours. Third time’s a charm they say. And they are quite right!! I followed all directions. I spritzed all of mine with a bit of water 2 min before baking. They all fluffed up nicely!!! Thank you!! I lightly oiled the pitas with olive oil right after it finished baking and they are soft, and warm, and delicious, and I can’t stop eating them. Off to the elliptical for me!
    I’ll be making another batch shortly and I will try the cold rise technique. Again, thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. deb

      All-purpose can be either. Ruth Levy Beranbaum prefers unbleached in her breads (as do many bakers) but it will work with either, so don’t fret if you have the wrong one.

  146. Adrianne

    Just making these and heard a pop in the oven. Yup – there goes my stone. Thanks for the cast iron suggestion!

  147. I made these yesterday, and they were spectacular. I made them with half white/half whole wheat flour. I made a double batch, one batch of dough went into the fridge, and the other half was baked and eaten last night with homemade falafel & hummus. YUM! This is the second time I’ve made pitas from scratch. The first time, the first recipe, didn’t turn out well. Thank you!

  148. Rachel

    do you let it rise totally in the fridge? or let it rise normally (until doubled) on the counter and then in the fridge for a few hours? just wondering!

  149. I love you for posting the grams! For it is written, real bakers use metric measurements. :p Am definitely going to try this out and when it has succeeded be sure to get loads of traffic this way from my links to it. :D

  150. MotoMannequin

    Thanks for this recipe. My grandmother was Lebanese and I’ve always loved this food. I was inspired to make falafel from scratch, and decided to go all out and make pita bread too.

    I’m a little confused by the purpose of marking the 2x rise point with tape, since you never say anything later about using that mark.

    BTW regarding the pizza stone, the hot tip from people who are really serious about pizza is to use a cordierite shelf used in kiln firing ceramics. Quality pizza stones are made from this material, however buying from a kiln supply is much cheaper than buying one branded for pizza. I don’t want to endorse a commercial site, but a search for “cordierite kiln shelf”and that will find you one. I use these on my Big Green Egg to do pizzas up to 900ºF over direct fire, and I can guarantee you won’t have any trouble with breaking it.

  151. I made these using whole grain spelt. So good!

    Using the skillet method I found that in order to make them “poof” I had to not just spritz them with water, but brush them, and then put a lid on the skillet. Worked perfectly!

  152. This recipe is very similar to “Navajo Fry Bread,” which years ago used to be made outside on a big grill over a campfire. Today, many indian tribes make a “Fry bread Hamburger,” where one puts a hamburger on one side of the fry bread and folds the other side over. It’s used instead of a hamburger bun!

  153. Vanessaabaciry

    Thank you so much for this fantastic recipe!! My husband is Egyptian and in the 14 years we’ve been together, I’ve always been terrified to try to make it myself. I’ve been getting more brave trying my hand at cooking and baking different things so went out and bought 25 pounds of flour, a gallon of oil, and a huge thing of yeast at Sams Club. No backing out! This is the first recipe I tried, and it worked beautifully! My husband said this recipe is just as good if not better than the bread you buy in Egypt. I don’t know about that, I think he was just so excited to have some homemade bread in the house, but it was quite the compliment nonetheless. A word of caution to anyone making this bread. If you double, or triple, or quadruple the recipe, work with one batch at a time. I tried to save time and rolled out 2 batches at once which was a huge mistake. The first half puffed BEAUTIFULLY and were light and airy and delicious. The second half didn’t puff as much and was more chewy and less airy and more dense. Still taste okay, but weren’t as good. When I make this again, I’ll make all the dough ahead of time, but only roll out one batch at a time. It will be completely worth the extra time.

  154. bon

    Thank you for this. FINALLY, a real pita bread recipe that fills in the blanks and resolves my prior failures. It was the moisture matter.

    However, I am trapped in the kitchen. My family love these so much I cannot keep up!

  155. Ingrid

    Tried a couple other recipes and this seemed so much better–esp with helpful photos. But there is no way to get the kind of color in your photos in only 3 minutes. They just come out white and dull. And doughy. The taste is great and I will try again, but don’t know how you get them so airy. I, too, spritzed water and they puffed up, but unevenly. They seem breadier, without the big air pocket. And they never collapsed when cooling. Any advice? I used the KitchenAid to knead. Would hand kneading bring more air into the dough?

  156. Elliot

    Hi, I’m having trouble visualizing this step: “roll into circles about 1/4 inch thick.” Could someone please explain how to turn the discs into circles? Thanks!

  157. Expat Eric

    These worked well for me, as the whole wheat variation. Absolutely the best pitas I’ve ever eaten, and so worth the extra time and bit of effort. I kneaded by hand, and with a cast iron pan in a very hot oven they go awfully quickly.

    Elliot, lay your risen disc on your floured countertop, and use a rolling pin to roll the disc out thinner, or stretch it out by hand, like pizza dough. Does that help?

  158. Alex

    I find that if you cook these up and they don’t happen to puff in the pan, you can still get them to puff later. Sometimes when you lightly spray them with water and place in a toaster on medium for about 1 1/2-2 minutes they will just puff up under the intense heat and not yet go hard. However if they do turn hard without puffing it really will never puff. Lovely recipe by the way, I’ve made this twice weekly for the last 4 months along with the hummus weekly- I’m not yet admitting I’m addicted but… who am I kidding?

  159. Jillian L

    I made these and divided the dough in half, half the dough became large pitas for dinner and the other half I made into small pitas, cut those up and toasted them to make pita chips as a side. This is a great recipe! Very delicious dough and super easy. Is there any benefit from cooking on the stovetop vs oven (or vice versa?)?

  160. Masha

    First time making pita – they worked beautifully! I let them rise several times on the counter (not on purpose, just because the dough rose much faster than I had anticipated and I didn’t want to bake them more than a couple hours before dinner). The last rise, I forgot to cover the dough with a towel so it formed a crust on top. The epitome of lazy, I didn’t even bother to take the crust off, just kneaded it back into the dough and did the rest of the ball making, rolling out, resting according to recipe. I baked one without water and it puffed – but before it puffed I had already flung some water on the rest with my fingers (couldn’t find the spray bottle) and they puffed great too. Thanks for the recipe!

  161. Carrie

    Made the dough last night in the KitchenAid and without kneading or resting at all, I made one right then and there…puffed like a dream. Put the rest of the dough in the fridge overnight and just divided it in half and made 5 more pitas for lunch. They all puffed beautifully although a little thinner than I’d like. I weighted the balls at 68 grams so next time I’ll do them at 75 – 80 grams or roll them smaller. This is very close to the recipe I’ve always used but never sprayed them before…seems to be the trick that works. Thanks for posting and I love your website!

  162. anita

    I’ve made these twice now – tonight for a dinner party with guests. Both times the bread puffed beautifully in the oven, had the perfect texture and tasted delicious. Everyone has really loved them. But both times the pitas came out looking sort of pasty white in color. I tried to leave them in the oven longer than the recipe called for, about twice as long, but they still didn’t brown, and I was afraid if I left them in any longer they would be dry and blah. In your pictures the pitas have a yellowish or tan color, except for the last picture, which is closer to how mine looked. Any suggestions for getting a more appetizing appearance?

    1. deb

      anita — You used a stone, right? You might try baking it at even a higher temperature. I’m always loathe to tell people to go off-recipe when I know that RLB is an impeccable recipe tester/writer, but if you have a powerful oven, a higher heat might blast more color onto them. Try only 25 degrees to start.

  163. Nancy

    Thanks so much for all your recipes and inspiration. This was my first try at Pita b (we called it Syrian as kids) bread and it turned out great – puff and all. I used the pizza stone outside on the gas grill because it’s too hot to turn on the oven!

  164. Emilass

    Made these to go with a batch of hummus for an appetizer potluck, deliberately did not spritz them with water and kept them on the dry side so they did not puff up. Were some of the best soft, chewy pita-flatbreads I’ve ever had! Hoping to make them again properly for sandwiches!

  165. evl

    Made these for dinner tonight. What fun! I used ⅓ whole wheat flour and followed the recipe exactly — including the spritzing. Baked them in the oven in a cast-iron skillet and every one of them puffed like magic. As a NYC native now living in a place where nobody has even heard of pita, I’m very excited to be able to make my own. My husband, who is a bread purist, pronounced them “authentic” and asked how soon I can make more (umm, tomorrow?). Thanks for another great recipe (with great directions)!

  166. Jeremy

    I’ve made this a few times, and I’ve found that 2 teaspoons of salt is way too much. I’m cutting back to half a teaspoon. Maybe it has to do with the salt type – I’m using 365 brand sea salt. Otherwise, it’s great!

  167. Ricki

    This recipe was an unmitigated disaster for me. :( I had an event that I wanted to make a lot of pitas for, so I made 3 separate batches, refrigerated them all overnight, followed the recipe to the letter. But in the morning the dough was very sticky and incredibly delicate. Even adding a ridiculous amount of flour wasn’t enough to get the pitas safely from the cutting board to the oven–when I tried to lift them as gently and carefully as possible, they stuck to everything and balled up… Even the ones I got into the oven turned out just terrible. Time to buy 30 pitas.

    I thought that since I’ve made thousands of pizzas and naan breads in a restaurant setting and have had a lot of experience rolling dough that I could probably handle any dough recipe. But this proved me wrong. I would strongly caution a novice against trying this recipe.

  168. deb

    Hi Ricki — I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble. I don’t think I’ve ever read in these comments about someone finding the dough too sticky before; it always felt very balanced to me, not hard to work with. I wonder if there might have been a measurement issue; did you use the weights or the standard/U.S./volume measurements?

  169. Sadie

    Is the overnight cold proofing in the fridge simply for flavor development? The first step in mixing the dough says “about 1 1/2 hours before shaping, or for best flavor development, 8 hours to 3 days ahead, mix the dough”, however I don’t see the option to let the dough rise at room temp before shaping.

    Many pita bread recipes direct that the dough should rise at room temperature until doubled in size, and then refrigerated overnight or for a few days before shaping and baking. I’m curious why this dough is placed in the fridge immediately after mixing.

  170. Gina

    Thank you for the thorough recipe!

    I first made pita when I got James Beard’s book, “Beard on Bread”, exactly forty years ago! I like his cooking method, which consists of putting the baking sheet onto the bottom shelf for exactly 5 minutes at 500 degrees, then transferring it to the top shelf for a couple of minutes. You get a nice brown top that way.

    Sometimes I use the stovetop griddle, just as you suggest, except that I put a lid on the pita at first.

  171. deb

    Sadie — Sorry for such a slow response! It’s for better flavor which comes from a slower rise. You can proof it at room temperature; it will be less developed in flavor but should still work. I haven’t tested it this way, but you will probably just need 1 to 2 hours at each stage.

  172. Hi Deb, I am a long time reader of your blog and thank you for all the great recipes and for your humor, I’ve enjoyed many laughs?
    I would love to have a recipe for falafel. My husband is from Israel and I can’t seem to get it right. I see you don’t have one, can you recommend?

    1. deb

      Allison — Thanks, you’re right, I haven’t made it. I feel like it would be impossible to get right (for other people). Some people like it soft (I kind of do), some like it firm, and I… uh, live within blocks of two places that make it just the way we like it. I agree I’m overdue to try my hand at it.

  173. Carrie

    It was so thrilling to see the pitas puff! Only 4/10 of mine did, but they all taste great and fresh. I got a little carried away that more moisture=more puff…don’t do what I did and make them so wet they stick to the pan! I did mine on the stove. Accompanied by Deb’s hummus and shakshuka recipes for a truly smitten kitchen-filled night!

  174. Kuldeep

    You have used kitchenaid stand mixer to make this delicious recipe. But I am not able to find the place to buy kitchen aid products in India. Could you please give the information?

  175. Barbara

    Mine didn’t puff, BUT, they are so delicious that I’m happy with the flatbread too! I kept the dough in the fridge for two days. I might not have rolled them thin enough so will try again, but regardless these are great, thanks.

  176. EL

    I always thought it was in the way you rolled them. I remember making them with sourdough way back when and if you roll them out so that the edges are “tighter” then the middles, they puff. But maybe I just got lucky? Too bad I didn’t write the recipe down. But as I need some pita, maybe
    I’ll try and see. . .

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