I’ve got an alliteration problem. See my pesto pizza pasta salad or my chocolate chipotle chili con carne. I’m back at it again. This time with a perfect pillowy-soft puffy pita recipe. I just can’t help myself. Sorry.
I honestly wanted to make a spanakopita dip with homemade fried pita bread for dipping. And in order to make that, I would need some delicious pitas to make it possible. So, after a little trial and error, I have a delicious pita recipe. What we’re going to make today is a simple pita recipe where the end result has that perfect pillowy softness.
These are a little bit thicker and fluffier than most pitas usually are. Partially to get the soft, pillowy insides. And partially to make frying them work better for my other recipe. Trust me, this is the perfect pita bread for whatever you have in mind.
With just a few ingredients and some simple steps, it is possible to create a delicious, pillowy-soft puffy pita recipe, perfect for your next meal.
Equipment to Make the Pita Recipe
One of the best parts of this recipe is that you don’t really need much in the way of equipment to make it. You can choose to use more mechanical equipment, but it actually seemed to work best when made by hand.
At its most basic, you’ll need a mixing bowl, a mixing spoon, a knife or bench scraper, a towel, and a frying pan to make this recipe. This process is simple and it involves hand mixing, hand kneading, and hand shaping of the pita dough.
You could also use a stand mixer with a dough hook to mix together and knead the dough. And you can use a rolling pin to shape and roll out the individual pitas.
But I prefer hand kneading and shaping. I think it helps, especially during the shaping, to achieve fully puffed and airy pitas. While kneading, it is also easier to tell when the dough has fully come together because you will feel it as you continue to work it.
Pillowy-soft Pita Dough Ingredients
Just six simple ingredients make up this recipe: flour, water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, and salt.
For the flour, I recommend quality bread flour. You can use all-purpose flour but it would likely require less water. Because bread flours tend to have a higher protein content, they need more water to hydrate properly. Try using about 1/3 cup less water for all-purpose flour.
And for the yeast, use active dry yeast. I prefer the Red Star Active Dry Yeast because it is good quality for a reasonable price. Unlike instant yeast, this one requires activation before mixing together with all of the other ingredients. This is accomplished by combining the yeast, sugar, and some of the warm water together and letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
I recommend using kosher salt and good-quality olive oil to round out the recipe.
Pita Recipe Steps
If you want to make pita bread at home, then here is a guide that will help you get started. These general steps are all that are needed:
1. Mix the Dough
First, activate the yeast with some water and sugar. Then mix in the remaining ingredients to form a shaggy dough. Turn it out and knead it until it comes together in a smooth ball of dough.
2. Rise the Dough
Give the dough a light coating of olive oil, put it in a bowl, cover it with a towel and then let it sit for about an hour in a warm spot until it has doubled in size. Tip – warm up your oven a little and then turn it off for a warm spot during the winter.
3. Shape the Pitas
Now it’s time to start shaping the pitas. Divide the dough into eight roughly equal parts. Then, you’ll roll each part of the dough into a ball. Let those rest for 10 minutes. Then, roll or stretch the balls into thin circles roughly 8 inches in diameter.
4. Cook the Pitas
Heat up a frying pan on medium heat. Place a pita into the hot frying pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking another 2-3 minutes until done. Repeat until all pitas are cooked.
5. Top or Fill
Once your pitas are fully cooked, use them however you see fit!
How to Make the Pita Dough
Because we aren’t using instant yeast, this simple dough starts with the activation of the yeast. Remember to use warm but not hot water to activate the yeast. It’s a delicate balance. Water that is too hot can kill the yeast. If you want to be exact, use an instant-read thermometer to get water between 105°F (40°C) and 115°F (46°C).
After the yeast is activated, add the remaining ingredients. Stir it all together (I like to use a wooden spoon for this). It’ll mix together into a fairly loose, shaggy dough – see the upper left photo in the collage above.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. At first, it’ll be fairly sticky but as you continue to knead it will come together more. It’ll firm up and eventually will be a smooth, elastic ball of dough.
If you’ve been kneading for 10 to 15 minutes and it still isn’t smooth, then add a little bit more flour and knead it in.
When you’ve finished kneading, lightly coat the ball of dough with olive oil and put it in a bowl. Cover it loosely with a towel and leave it in a warm spot to rise. Let it rest and rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour.
Once it has risen, dump that dough ball out onto a floured work surface. Divide it into eight roughly equal portions. If you really want to have even sizes, you can measure them out with a scale. But it really isn’t that important. Trust me, it is okay.
Shape each portion into a ball. I like to do this by pinching it together at the back. After shaping them all, let them rest, covered with a towel, for 10 more minutes.
How to Shape A Pita
With everything divided and first shaped into eight dough balls, we’re ready to form the actual pitas. The goal here is to flatten the dough into 8-inch rounds.
You can do this by hand or using a rolling pin. I prefer hand-shaping because it is a bit more gentle on the dough, and it also gives the final results less of a completely flat surface so the pitas have a bit more character.
I start hand-shaping by pressing down in the center of the ball of dough. Then I pick it up and pinch my thumbs into my fingers and stretch it out as I rotate the pita in my hands. Feel around the pita for any thicker spots that need to be stretched out, especially towards the center or the very edges of the dough.
Note that I do find it helpful to do two final shapes. Stretch them as much as they will go at first, then set them down and keep shaping the others. Come back after it has had a couple of minutes of rest and it’ll be easier to keep stretching out to a final shape.
Try to get it to between about 1/8 and 1/4-inch in thickness.
If you’re using a rolling pin, just roll over the dough until it is flattened.
Pita Recipe Cooking
I’ve seen a few different methods for cooking pitas, including using a preheated pizza stone in the oven to help cook them. I kept it simple and just turned to a frying pan on the stovetop.
To cook mine, I simply preheated the frying pan over medium heat. Then I added in one of the shaped pita rounds.
Let it cook for a few minutes on one side and then flip and cook the other side for a few minutes until done. Each side should be lightly browned in spots, as seen in the photo above.
I didn’t use any kind of fat or anything in the pan itself. But, you could wipe the pan down beforehand with a small bit of olive oil and then between pitas if you really wanted to or found that your pan was sticking. For me, it never stuck to the pan, possibly because of a light dusting of flour that the dough had accumulated.
How to Use This Pita Recipe
This pita recipe is quite versatile and can be used in a variety of meals and appetizers.
To start off, I made this recipe initially to fry and pair with a spanakopita dip. This turned out delicious and I highly recommend giving it a try. The pita turns out deliciously crunchy on the outside and pillowy on the inside. Dunking it in the dip really combines for a unique flavor combo.
You can also try making any of the following:
- Pita Pockets
- Hummus Dipper
However you use it, I promise that it will be delicious.
How did yours turn out?
I’d love to hear when you try out this puffy pita recipe! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.
Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.
Perfect Pillowy-soft Puffy PitasCourse: Baked Goods, SidesDifficulty: Easy
So you want to eat a pillowy soft puffy pita? Here’s how to make one! Learn to make the perfect fluffy, puffy pita bread in around 2 hours.
9.5 grams (2.5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
5 grams (1 teaspoon) sugar
350 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 and 1/4 cup) warm water, divided
500 grams (3 1/2 cups) bread flour (more for dusting)
15 grams (2 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil
10 grams (1.5 teaspoons) kosher salt
- In a large mixing bowl add 100 grams of warm water and stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved
- Let it rest until the yeast is active and starts to foam up a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes
- Add in all remaining ingredients (flour, olive oil, salt, and remaining water) and stir it together until a loose, shaggy dough forms
- Turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic
- Coat the ball of dough with a small amount of olive oil and place it in a bowl, loosely covered with a towel
- Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour depending on your environment
- Pour the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide it into 8 roughly equal-sized portions
- Roll and pinch the pieces into small dough balls and let them sit, covered with a towel for about 10 minutes
- Shape the balls into flat pita rounds by either rolling them out with a rolling pin or hand-shaping by pinching and rotating until they are between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat and cook the pitas individually for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly browned
- If your house is cold, turn on the oven for a few minutes and then turn it off again for a warm spot the dough can rise
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