There are always those recipes that give you a special sense of achievement when you make them, and I feel that bread is one of them. There is something about homemade bread that is universally seen as “making it” in the kitchen across all cultures. Some breads may be difficult, but I can assure you that pita bread is super easy and once you’ve made it at home, you’ll wonder why you never made it earlier.
Pita bread is popular across the Levant and for good reason. It is a super versatile flatbread that is perfect for dipping and stuffing, two things we Levantines excel at! The earliest version of pita bread is said to date back about 14,500 years, made by the Natufian people in what is now Jordan, using wild cereals. This bread is perfect for sandwiches, like falafel and shawarma, and equally perfect to scoop up the region’s many dips, like hummus, mutabal and labneh or breakfasts like eggs.
Making the bread is pretty straightforward, but to get the fluffiest and softest bread that will stay that way for days, resting the dough between each step is crucial. While you can knead this dough using a mixer, I like to do this by hand, as it ensures we don’t overwork the dough. The dough is slightly sticky, so don’t worry about that, just make sure your surface is floured and it won’t give you any trouble.
When cooking the pita, the goal is to get it to puff up. Once it is puffed and golden on both sides, it will be cooked on the inside. If your bread isn’t puffing up, it means the pan isn’t hot enough. Don’t worry when your bread flattens after cooking, that is normal. As it cools down, the puffiness will also go down, but it will definitely stay delicious!
This recipe makes 10 medium-sized breads and although it is most delicious hot off the pan, they store very well in the fridge or freezer. I like reheating mine straight from the freezer on an open flame, flipping it constantly until it is nice and soft, but you could use your oven or air fryer as well. Whatever you decide to pair your bread with, it’ll definitely be with a sense of pride and accomplishment!
500 g all-purpose flour
275-315 ml warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
- Mix all the ingredients together and knead until the dough comes together and is no longer sticky.
- Place in a bowl greased with olive oil and cover. Leave to rise for an hour.
- Once risen, sprinkle the dough with flour and punch it down. Roll into a log and divide into 10 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and leave to rise again for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Roll out into a thin round disc on a floured surface, cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
- Heat a frying pan without any oil and place the first piece of dough. Once it begins to bubble, flip it over. It will start to puff up. Cook until golden on both sides. Place on a tray and cover. Enjoy with whatever savoury or sweet filling or dip you like!