Pita pockets were to me like ‘Daffodils’ were to Wordsworth. I came across pita bread pockets in a Lebanese buffet in Pearl continental Hotel, Karachi, Pakistan, when I was a small child. I still have twinkling memories of my mom smiling over my excitement.The pita pockets were amazingly tasty, even fascinating and hence, the memory lasted.
Step by step recipes of pita bread pockets with photographs. Pita bread is an Arabic bread made originally with wheat flour. The bread is round shaped and puffs up like a balloon in oven. Although upon cooling the steam settles and bread is flattened. When you cut it into half, you see a semi circular pockets. Pita bread can be eaten with almost any chicken or vegetable filling to make pita sandwich. Or can be dipped in chutneys and sauces. Hubby loves it fresh and hot with homemade hummus and homemade pickled jalapenos. The pocket less thin pita breads rolls or shawarma rolls are so widely sold around Karachi that may be soon they will make their way into street food like Bun kabab and Chatni rolls.
This is a best, fool-proof and detailed recipe. The tricky part that is puffing depends less on ingredients which are simple and more on technique and temperature of making homemade pita bread.
How to make Pita Bread Pockets (pictorial)
Author: Mariam Huzaifa
Recipe time: 2 hour, 30 min|Prep time:30 mon|Baking time:30 mins| Cusine: Arabic, Syria,Middle east,Lebanon,Greek,UAE|Recipe type: DIY foods,bread| Serving :12 bread, 24 pockets.
- 4 cups, 500 gm plain flour (maida), more for dusting
- 2 tbs olive oil (zaitoon ka teel)
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 tbs sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 Instant yeast sachet, 11 gm, 1.5 tsp
- 1 cup milk, warm
- 1/2 cup or more water to knead the dough
- 1/2 tsp oregano (optional, not part of original recipe)
- Proof your yeast by mixing it with 1/2 cup Luke warm water and sugar. Leave it in a warm place. The froth will rise within 10-30 minutes depending on temperature of surrounding.
- Mix warm milk, egg, salt, proofed yeast, oil and oregano in a bowl lightly with a spoon.
- Take flour in a mixing bowl or thali and make a well in the center. Add mixture of all ingredient and make a very soft dough. The dough will be slightly sticky and soft.
- Cover dough with a thin film of oil. Cover the dough in thali. Or grease a very large container, and put dough in it. Leave dough in a warm place. The dough will require 45-90 min to rise depending upon temperature.
- Puncture the dough to release air.
- Knead the dough for 1-2 minutes.
- Preheat the oven on 400 F , turn on the top grill too, so it create tandoor like heat in the oven as bottom and top both stove are heating simultaneously.
- Divide into portions 11-12 portions.
- Knead each portion again and roll it into a thin pita bread.
- Roll all the pita and spread all separately on a flat surface.
- Let them rise for about 10 minutes, by them time you’ll have rolled all pita, it will be more than 10 minutes.
- Flip and put the top side of pita in the bottom of baking sheet or baking stone.
- Your pita will puff up like balloon and you’ll see slight dark golden color on top, Your pita is ready.
- Put each pita in the oven and it takes less 2 minutes minutes to cook. The top grill help give a nice golden top.
- Take out from oven and cover with a towel immediately.
- Repeat with all pita bread and store all under the towel.
- When cool cut from center to have two pita pockets.
- You can reheat on a griddle or stove top too. All you can also make them crisp by heating on griddle. See notes.
Step by step pita bread pockets with photos.
Making dough for pita bread
My yeast instruction didn’t require proofing so I skipped it. But do follow the instruction of your yeast packet. So I directly mixed egg, milk, sugar, and yeast.
Make a well in the flour and add oil, salt and oregano(optional). Add a little water at a time and form a dough.Coat a film of oil. Cover the dough with a lids, tray or damp towel. Put in warm place.
Kneading and dividing in portions
When the dough doubles after 1 hour 30 minutes, puncture and divide the dough in two part. The division helps easy kneading. Knead each part for 90 sec. Then divide into twelve portions and again knead each portion for 10 sec.
Rolling into flat breads
Dust each portion with flour and roll them into a thin circle around 15 cm.This will require patience and force as the dough will be very elastic. Now, let each pita rest for 10 minutes. But by the time you’ll have finished all rolling it would be more than 10 minutes.
Baking pita pockets in oven
I used the metal tray of oven and placed the pita directly, but baking stone is recommended. It took 1-2 min to bake each batch. But it depends on the temperature of your oven. But it should take less than 5 minutes. You can always do it on stove top too .
- You can make pita bread ahead too. Let them cool completely and then store in fridge in an air tight container. Reheat on stove before using.
- You can make pita bread on stove too just like any flat bread or tortilla but oven is recommended.
- If your oven doesn’t have top grill, still you can make pita bread in oven, but you will not have a brown top. For that once your pitas have ballooned and cooked. Take it out and store. When all pita breads are ready. Cook them on griddle to give finishing brown marks. Or you can do this while reheating before serving too for fresh and crisp taste.
- If they balloon, hopefully they will , take a photo and post on Instagram with #recipe52. I love to see the feed backs.
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