Pita 2 ways

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Master Chef
Feb 20, 2011
Pita 2 ways, 1 without yogurt, 1 with. The one with yogurt is softer, fluffier? and more delicate than the one without.
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From TheKitchn

8 rounds


1 cup warm (not hot or boiling) water, divided
2 tsp active dry yeast, NOT instant
pinch of sugar
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 to 2 tsp EVOO

Gently mix 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the water, sugar and yeast together in a small bowl, and let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast is bubbling and growing.

In a large bowl, place 2-1/2 cups of the flour and salt, mix well to combine. Add the yeast mixture and remaining water (use some of the remaining water to wash out your small bowl to get all the yeast mixture out) and olive oil. Stir until a shaggy dough is formed.

Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 5-7, using part or all of the remaining flour. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Add additional flour as needed if the dough is really sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. You want a soft, slightly sticky dough that you can form into a fairly smooth ball.

You can also mix and knead the dough in a stand mixer if you have one.

Using the bowl you used to mix the dough (it should be fairly clean if you scraped out the dough well) pour in a little olive oil, maybe a couple of teaspoons. Roll the ball of dough in the olive oil so that it's coated. Cover bowl with a clean dishcloth, plastic wrap or foil and let the dough rise until it's doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently form each piece into a ball, then flatten each piece into a thick disk. Let rest for 10-15 minutes covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about 1/4 inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as you roll to make sure the dough isn't sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if it's starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few more minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

Let pitas rest while you heat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat. If you don't have a baking stone, place a large baking sheet (upside down if it's rimmed) on the middle rack to heat.

Slide your fingers under the pita and gently pick it up, then flip it top side down onto the hot stone/baking sheet, and bake for about 3 minutes. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully ballooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking remaining pitas. You need to cover them with the towel so that they will steam and remain soft. They may become brittle otherwise.

You can also cook them on the stovetop. Warm a cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until a few beads of water sizzle immediately on contact. Drizzle a little vegetable/canola/peanut oil in the pan and wipe off the excess. As above, flip the pita into the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side. The pita should start to puff up during this time; if it doesn't or if only small pockets form, try pressing the surface of the pita gently with a clean towel. Again, keep cooked pitas covered with a clean dishtowel while cooking the remaining pitas.

Storing: Pitas are best when eaten immediately after cooking. Leftover pitas will keep in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are or warmed in a toaster oven. Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between the layers for up to three months.

You can refrigerate the pita dough after the first rise until it is needed. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week if covered tightly. I do this quite often. The flavor seems to improve after a day or 2 as well. Allow dough to come to room temperature before dividing and/or shaping.

From Molly Yeh, Yogurt based pita

Makes 12 small pita, 9 larger

3/4 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tsp plus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
3-3/4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for the bowl
3/4 cup whole-milk good quality yogurt

In a small bowl, gently mix 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the water, 1 tsp sugar and yeast together and let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast is bubbling and growing.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and remaining tablespoon of sugar. Add the yeast mixture, remaining water (washing out the small yeast bowl with some of it), oil, and yogurt and mix to combine. Stir the mixture with a spatula to lightly bring it together, scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, then knead for 5-7 minutes until you can form a slightly sticky and soft ball. Add more flour if the dough seems way too sticky. Again, be sparing as you want the slight stickiness. Add a splash of olive oil and return the dough ball to the greased bowl, rolling the ball around to grease all sides. Cover as above and allow to rest in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. Alternatively, allow to rise about 40 minutes, then place into refrigerator until needed (allow dough to return to room temperature before shaping).

Divide dough into number of pieces you want. Shape into balls and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

Roll out and bake as above.
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