5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sita's Pita Bread

February 15, 2022
5 Stars
Photo by Photographer: Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Alya Hameedi. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog
Author Notes

This recipe blends two of my Sita’s (my Lebanese-American grandmother on my mother’s side) recipes. It favors a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour, which makes the dough much easier to work with than her all-whole-wheat-flour version. And patting the dough balls out by hand with your fingertips, instead of flattening them with a rolling pin, ensures that the pita dough rises.

Sita baked her loaves in an oven with a broiler on the bottom; to mimic that, my brother Will came up with the idea of baking it on a preheated pizza stone, which also ensures that the dough cooks and puffs to a tender-chewy result. Be sure to cover the baked loaves with a towel to ensure that they cool without drying out. Store in a sealed bag for three days on the counter, or up to one or two months in the freezer; they warm nicely in the toaster.
Layla Khoury-Hanold

  • Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • makes 10
Ingredients
  • 1 (¼-ounce) packet dry active yeast
  • 2 cups warm water, divided
  • 3 1/4 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring board
  • 2 cups (226 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water. Next, add remaining 1 cup water, oil, salt, and sugar. Working in batches, add in 3 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Use a silicone mixing spoon to gently incorporate the flour into the mixture until the dough starts to form (about half-way through adding flour), then use your hands to incorporate remaining flour. The dough will be sticky.
  2. Flour a large wooden board and turn out dough on board. From the remaining ¼ cup all-purpose flour, work in a tablespoon or so at a time until the dough is no longer so sticky. (You may not need all of it.) Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Shape dough into a ball, place in the bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover bowl with a towel. Leave the dough ball to rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
  4. Remove the dough ball and transfer to the floured board. Punch down and cover with a clean towel or cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into 10 portions and shape into balls. Cover with a towel and let rest 15 minutes more.
  6. Heat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone (or baking sheet) placed on the lowest rack.
  7. Using your palms, lightly flatten the dough ball on the floured board. Using your fingertips, knead the dough into a round flat disk about ¼ inch thick by pressing down the center then out around the edges. Don't flip the dough; whichever side starts as the bottom of the loaf should stay as the bottom. Use a light touch to ensure a tender loaf.
  8. Bake one loaf at a time. Bake until lightly browned underneath, 4 to 5 minutes, then use tongs to flip and bake for 1 minute more, until lightly browned and puffed on both sides. While one loaf is baking, flatten the next dough ball, always keeping unbaked dough covered.
  9. Once bread is done baking, use tongs to remove loaf from the oven and transfer it to a clean towel, covering with a second towel to keep loaves warm and prevent bread from drying out. Repeat with the remaining dough.

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4 Reviews

Smaug February 18, 2022
It's clear in the instructions that 3 1/4c. AP flour is intended, but that 31/4 (7 3/4) in the ingredient list looks funny and might deceive someone.
 
Arati M. February 19, 2022
Hi! Now fixed! Thank you.
 
Lynn M. February 18, 2022
There seems to be a typo on the measurement for the all-purpose flour. 31 quarter cups? Then upon reading the directions it refers, confusingly, to 3 cups of flour? Which is it? I love making pita bread, but the recipe I have is not so great. Would love it if this was the magic one.
 
Arati M. February 19, 2022
Hi! This formatting error has now been fixed! We hope you try this recipe—and love it!