Perfect Pita Bread
Who’s ready to learn how to make some delicious pita bread? Pita bread is probably the easiest bread recipe to master, even the most novice of cooks shouldn’t be intimidated! Truthfully, the only challenge you might need to overcome is making sure the pita bread puffs up to form a “pocket.” Luckily, even if it doesn’t puff up, it will still taste amazing. Simply fold it in half and eat it like flatbread! Lucky for you, I’m a perfectionist. Using my “fails” to your advantage, I’ll make sure that you achieve the perfect “puff” almost every time!
Wheat or White?
You might notice in my recipe photos that some of the pita bread looks like it’s made with white flour, and some with wheat. The simple explanation is that sometimes I substitute 1/2 cup of wheat flour for 1/2 cup of white flour. The photos are a sampling of both variations. You can even add more wheat flour if you wish. Although I have never tried making 100% whole wheat pita bread, I have substituted as much as half of the white flour with wheat. The end result was still delicious. However, if I’m being honest, I prefer pita bread made white flour over wheat.
Stovetop or Oven?
Recently, I have noticed a trend of cooking pita bread in a cast-iron skillet on the stove, versus the oven. I have given this method a few tries and have found that the pita does not puff up most of the time. Sure you might have an occasional puff, but I don’t like those odds. In my humble opinion, the pan method should be left for making flatbread and tortillas. If you’re still not convinced, check out the photo below. The pita on top of the stack was cooked in a pan; it did not puff up at all. The rest were cooked in the oven, and they all puffed up perfectly.
Oven Temperature and Cooking Times
Your oven should be set to 500°F. Cooking with a lower temperature for a longer period does not achieve the same great results. Either a pizza stone or a cast-iron skillet is a must for this recipe. Whichever you decide to use, be sure to heat it in the 500°F oven for 15 minutes first. How long should you cook the pita? Let’s just say I have experimented enough for the both of us. I have found that cooking the bread for three minutes, then quickly flipping over for an additional minute helps to achieve the perfect puff. If you flip the pita too soon, it will not have had a chance to puff up. Cooking for an additional minute on the other side helps that side to brown as well.
Follow these few simple, yet necessary steps, and you will be baking pita bread like a Middle Eastern grandma in no time!