Fresh, soft, hot pita bread with a pocket in the middle… is there anything better? And when you use the best flour and sea salt, you’ll be thrilled with the results. Making pita from scratch may seem a little daunting, but it really doesn’t have to be with a few tools.
- A pizza stone. Available in kitchen stores and online, you can buy an inexpensive stone for under ten dollars. This thrifty item can help give you pita with a soft interior, and a snap-crisp exterior.
- An electric tortilla press. For about 40 dollars, you can buy yourself a press that will allow you to create every variety of gluten-free (and gluten-ful) pita, tortillas, and flat breads.
- A rubber spatula for removing the pita from the stone.
- A mixer with a dough hook attachment. While you can easily knead any kind of bread dough by hand, the process is time consuming.
I like to make a large batch of dough from which I create a large stack of pitas. They freeze really well, and can be warmed up in the oven.
24 oz. all-purpose flour, plus 3/4 cup for kneading
1 packet active dry yeast (approximately 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons sea salt
Approximately 3 cups tepid water
- In a large bowl or pot, empty the packet of yeast. Add 1/4 cup water, and 2 tablespoons water. Stir to combine.
- In increments, add 1/4 of the flour, 1/4 the water, and then mix with a wooden spoon. Continue adding flour and water until you have added the 24 ounces of flour. Towards the end, add water a little at a time. You may need more or less water depending on the amount of moisture in the air. Use your hands to make sure all the flour is fully incorporated.
- Using a mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the dough until it reaches the window pane stage. You will know that it is almost ready when the dough starts to form a stiff ball, and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It will become less sticky and more elastic. If you stretch a piece, you can create a thin membrane that you can see through.
- Place a glass lid over the bowl, and allow the dough to rest until it doubles it size (1-2 hours).
- Refrigerate the dough, covered, and allow it to chill for at least two hours, or overnight. Using very cold dough to make the pitas will make the process much easier, since the dough will not be sticky.
- When you are ready to make your pita bread, place your pizza stone in the oven, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees for at least 1/2 hour. The pizza stone should be very hot. If it is not, the pita will not puff.
- While the stone is heating, plug in the tortilla press.
- Begin making pitas. Make a ball with approximately 2 tablespoons of the dough. Pat and stretch it slightly so it will lay flat in the tortilla press.
- Using the tortilla press, press it out until it is the shape of a pita. You may need to move the pita around to ensure all areas of it are evenly pressed.
- Cook it in the press until the outside is slightly cooked, but the inside is still soft.
- Using a spatula, throw the pita onto the the stone. As it completes cooking, it will puff. Wait 5 seconds, and then remove.
- Repeat this process until you have used all the dough.