As an Arab, one of my absolute favorite things to eat is freshly baked pita. It’s soft, it’s fluffy, and it’s delicious.
I do have to say, though, baking intimidates me. I like to cook a lot and experiment with different dishes and spices and all that. But when it comes to baking, I’m usually like “nope!”
But the other day I was craving fresh pita and tzatziki (AKA “Jajeek” in Iraq.) Anyways, I didn’t want to buy pita at the store. I really don’t like those.
So here I was craving pita, don’t want to buy it from the store, what do I do?!
Thankfully, there is Chef John from Food Wishes! Food Wishes is one of my favorite YouTube channels and Chef John’s dishes are incredible! You definitely have to check it out.
Chef John’s pita recipe is so easy, and the results are so good! The pita really tastes just like what I used to eat in Damascus back when I lived there. You can watch his full pita video here.
And that’s why I wanted to share this awesome recipe so you can make pita at home today!
So grab your flour, yeast, and a mixing bowl:
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 cup of warm water
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1+1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar (original recipe doesn’t have sugar, but I thought it added some balance…but what do I know?)
- In a mixing bowl, toss in the yeast, water, and 1 cup of flour. Whisk that very well and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Add olive oil, salt, sugar, and another cup of flour. If you have one of these fancy dough mixers, use it. I didn’t have one, so I just used a wooden spoon and my hands.
- Mix in everything and keep adding the rest of the flour gradually until the dough is soft and not too sticky.
- Transfer the dough onto a flour-dusted surface. Sprinkle a little flour on top and start kneading. If you feel the dough is still sticky, add a little bit of flour and knead away. Keep doing that until you get a nice and smooth dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball, add some olive oil in another mixing bowl, throw the dough in and coat it lightly with oil.
- Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise for 2-3 hours until it doubles in size.
- Take the dough out and place it again on a flour-dusted surface. Cut into 8 small, equally sized balls. Cover them again and let them rise for 30 minutes.
- Take one loaf at a time, roll it out to about a quarter of an inch thick, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Make sure you keep the rest of the loaves covered so they don’t dry up.
- Heat a cast iron skillet (kind of a must) to medium high. Gently place the rolled out dough in the skillet.
- Enjoy the show! the dough will start puffing up and your kitchen will smell amazing! Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. If you’re lucky, you would get a nice balloon and that’s when you know you’re a master pita maker!
And that’s it! Eat it with you favorite dips, make sandwiches, or just do what I did and eat a few plain. I promise you this will be the best pita you will ever have!
Special thanks to Chef John for this recipe. Definitely brought up a lot of memories!