Pita bread is a popular bread from the Mediterranean cuisine made with few basic pantry ingredients. It is served for dipping, making wraps, or for lunch boxes. It makes a great appetizer for parties and potlucks when served with hummus.
It is really easy to make pita bread at home by making the dough in the bread machine using the dough cycle. Pita bread are then baked in the oven at 500 °F.
Pita bread ingredients
Pita bread is made with basic pantry ingredients - all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, water, salt, oil, and yeast. Bread flour also works well instead of all pupose flour. I use King Arthur bread flour and all-purpose flour interchangeably and both give great results.
The dough for pita bread can be made in the bread machine or using a stand mixer and I prefer to use instant yeast also known as rapid rise yeast which can directly be added to the flour and there is no need to activate it.
A little bit of sugar is added to feed the instant yeast which allows the dough to rise in volume. I like to use olive oil while making the dough but other type of oil works fine as well.
Pita bread vs naan
It may sound that pita bread and naan are very similar. However, the main difference is in the texture and the ingredients. Both naan and pita use flour, oil, water, yeast, and salt, as the main ingredients. Naan also has yogurt or milk which makes it very soft while pita have a dry texture.
Naan is popular in the Indian cuisine and served with curries while pita bread comes from the Mediterranean cuisine. It is either served for dipping or as a pocket for filling and making a variety of wraps.
Can you make pita bread in a bread maker?
Yes! Bread machine is a great appliance to make a variety of bread and dough. You can make a perfect soft dough in the bread machine for pita bread. In order to make pita bread, only one rise is required which is taken care by the bread machine.
All you need to do is place all the wet and dry ingredients in the order recommended by the bread machine manufacturer and start the dough cycle. You can read more on how to make the dough in bread machine.
The bread machine dough cycle will do all the job of mixing, kneading, and getting the dough through its first rise. Once the dough cycle is complete, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Now divide the dough into 8 parts or more and roll each of the pieces to a flat bread of about 4 mm thickness and then bake in the oven. You can dust a little flour as needed while rolling so that it does not stick.
How to cook pita bread in the oven?
Pita bread is baked at a temperature of 500 °F in the oven. Once the pita bread is rolled to about 4 mm thickness, place them on a baking tray and bake them in the oven for about 5-6 minutes until they start getting golden brown spots.
You will observe that after 2-3 minutes, the pita bread will start puffing in the oven, which is a great sign of making perfect pita bread. Don't be disappointed if they don't puff up, they can still be used for dipping.
After 6 minutes, remove the pita bread from the oven, place it on a kitchen towel, and gently wrap it. This helps to prevent the pita bread from becoming dry.
How to eat pita bread?
Pita bread is highly versatile and can be served in a variety of ways. They are best served warm. Pita bread is used for dipping in hummus or baba ghanoush and makes a perfect appetizer for parties and potlucks. They are also great for lunch boxes.
Pita bread puff up while cooking and make perfect pockets when divided into halves. These pita pockets are used to make a variety of wraps. Falafel wraps are very popular vegetarian wraps filled with falafel, hummus, tzatziki sauce, and veggies.
You can get creative to stuff your favorite fillings in the pita bread. My kids love the vegetable and paneer filling. They work well for a pizza base to be topped with pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese.
How to store pita bread?
Just like most homemade bread, it is best to store pita bread at room temperature. You can store them in an air-tight container, bread box, or just keep them wrapped in a kitchen towel for 3-4 days.
They should not be refrigerated else they can become very dry and lose their texture. Pita bread can be reheated in the microwave for a few seconds, or in the oven at 325 °F for 1-2 minutes.
If needed, you can spray some water on the pitas to help regain its moisture in case they become too dry.
Can pita bread be frozen?
Pita bread can be frozen for upto 2 months in freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags. They can be made ahead of time for meal planning. Before freezing the pitas, allow them to cool down completely and then stack them on each other with parchment paper in between two pitas.
When you are ready to serve, simply take out as much pita bread as you need and reheat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until it is warm. Frozen pita bread can also be reheated in the oven at 325 °F for 2-3 minutes.
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Bread Machine Pita Bread
- Convection Oven
- 1 ⅛ cup Water (⅛ cup = 2 tbsp)
- 2 tablespoon Oil
Making pita dough in bread machine
- Place all the wet and dry ingredients in the order (wet first and dry later or vice versa) recommended by your bread machine manufacturer.
- Select and start the dough cycle.
- The dough will be ready once the cycle is complete.
- Remove the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.
Making pita bread in oven
- Preheat oven to 500 °F (I have placed the rack at mid level).
- Divide the dough into 8 equal parts.
- Make a smooth ball from a dough piece.
- Using a rolling pin roll into a disc of about 4 mm thickness. (dust flour if needed)
- Carefully lift and place the disc in a baking tray and place in the oven.
- Bake for about 6 minutes until the pita bread puffs and there are few golden brown spots.
- Remove the pita bread from the oven and continue with the rest of the dough pieces.
- It is best to weigh the flour using a food scale for the best and most consistent results.
- The dough can also be kneaded in a stand mixer and then proofed in the instant pot or oven for about 1 hour before shaping into rolls.
- Check out this post for detailed instructions on how to knead dough in the stand mixer and proof it in the instant pot.
- Follow the remaining steps starting from " dough"