Sourdough Pita Bread Recipe

Sourdough pita bread recipe – Super easy, the best recipe

You are pondering what to make for dinner. You love middle eastern food, but your partner is into food from Greece. One kid loves pizza, but the other one will basically only eat hotdogs. What are you supposed to do? Well, pita bread to the rescue. Here is my recipe for sourdough pita bread.

Pita bread is awesome. Soft, delicious hot bread with a built-in pocket that can be filled with anything your heart desires (I mean food!!). Best of all, they are really not hard to make.

Supermarket pita bread is normally made in a factory. A success criteria for factories is to push out as many of what they make in the least amount of time, but that is seldom good when we talk food.

Pita bread in a basket

Especially bread needs to be left alone to develop taste and also to bread down gluten. One reason there are so many gluten insensitive people is that the factory made bread never get enough time to break down the gluten.

This recipe that I am providing here gets to do both of those things, which gives you a wonderful bread full of taste, that won’t fill you like a ton of bricks.


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The history of pita bread

Pita bread has a long history, which starts in the Middle East over 14,000 years ago, in the Stone Age.

The dough would be made using very rough milled grains and would stand around and attract free-floating yeast, much as sourdough was used later on.

With the invention of Brewer’s Yeast that started to become the go-to leavening.

Sourdough pita bread straight out of the oven

Around 10,000 years ago people had domesticated ancient wheat grains and barley, so these grains were milled and used for these kinds of breads.

Around 4,500 pita breads were a staple and there are records of recipes. The breads were prepared in something akin to tandoor ovens.

Still, they were probably nothing like the kinds of pita breads that are prepared and eaten today.

In the Middle East these breads are often still prepared in back yard stoves, but in most other regions of the world these breads are made in factories.

I want to change that.

How do you get the pocket in this sourdough pita bread recipe?

So, you may wonder how to the pocket is made in pita bread.

Do you somehow cut it in half and seal the bread up again? But wouldn’t they split open again? So many questions.

The answer is super simple. Steam. The pita breads are baked super hot. Crank you oven all the way up to 260°C/500°F.

As the breads are put onto a hot surface, all the water in the dough is quickly brought to boiling temperature, creating lots of steam which puffs the bread up in the middle.

Which means a baking steel or baking stone is a great tool to get perfect pita bread. If you don’t have that you may want to prepare them on a heavy duty cast-iron skillet on the stove top.

When the bread then cools this gap doesn’t seal again, so when you cut it open there’s a convenient pocket in the middle.

The dough composition

Vitals

Total weight871 grams
Prefermented flour22.6%
Hydration65%
Yield8 pita bread

The dough

Flour selection

The dough is mainly made from bread flour, we need some strength to work against those crazy steam powers that blow up the bread.

I also like to put some whole grain in my pita bread dough, so 20% of the flour is whole grain wheat flour. You can basically substitute with any whole grain flour that you like, even gluten free flours will work.

The pre-shaped dough for pita bread

Hydration

The hydration of the dough is 65%, but this should be taken with a grain of salt, because after mixing the dough we knead it, and here it is important to add enough flour to have a nice supple tacky but not sticky dough.

You don’t want the dough to stick to everything making it impossible to move it to the oven.

Other extras

A bit of olive oil and sugar is added to the dough, which will both help soften the dough and let it stay moist for longer.

The salt content is 2.6% to really bring out the taste of the flour.

The formula

WeightIngredientBaker's Percentage
308gbread flour80.0%
77gwhole grain wheat flour20.0%
211gwater54.8%
225gstarter (100% hydration)58.4%
25golive oil6.5%
15gsugar3.9%
10gsalt2.6%

If you want to play around with the formula, chane hydration or quantity, you can do so in my Bread Calculator.

The conclusion of this sourdough pita bread recipe

These pita breads are absolutely a delight and it requires so little work to make them.

They are soft and fluffy. They have wonderful fermented taste with lots of nutty notes from the whole grain wheat flour.

The pocket is super well defined making it easy to cut the pita open and fill it with all the goodies in the world.

Sourdough pita bread in a basket on a wooden floor made with this recipe

They can be eaten straight out of the oven. They can stay good in a sealed plastic bag on your counter and be reheated or you can put them in the freezer for 3 months, thaw in the fridge and be reheated in the oven.

Why are you sitting there reading? Go make delicious pita bread.

Ideas for fillings for sourdough pita bread

Here are my four ideas for fillings that

Middle Eastern-inspired pita bread

To your warm pita add:

  • 3 fried crushed falafels
  • Thinly sliced halved cucumbers
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Thinly slice red onions
  • Drizzle over some tahini.
  • Top with some finely chopped mint leaves

Greek-inspired pita bread

To your warm pita add:

  • Thinly sliced halved cucumbers
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Thinly slice red onions
  • Some delicious cubed feta
  • Drizzle over some greek salad dressing made by whisking:
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • ½ clove garlic, minced
    • ¼ tsp dried oregano
    • ¼ tbsp kosher salt
    • A dash freshly ground black pepper
    • ¼ cup or 60 ml olive oil
  • Top with finely chopped oregano

Italian inspired pita bread

Heat your oven to 220°C/425°F.

Put a pita on on a peel and spread some passata on it. Top with some slices buffalo mozzarella.

Than put some fresh leaves of basil on top. Heat in the oven for 7-8 minutes until the pita is crispy.

Add a fresh leaf of basil. Slice and serve.

Italian-inspired pita bread margherita

Danish inspired pita bread

To your warm pita add:

  • Sliced boiled red hotdogs (or another kind if you can’t get red)
  • Top with ketchup
  • Strong mustard
  • Sweet mustard
  • Remoulade
  • Diced raw onions
  • Fried onions
  • And pickled cucumbers (also known as cucumber salad):
    • 1 cup/240 ml vinegar
    • 1 cup/240 ml sugar
    • Mix to combine.
    • Slice an english cucumber very thinly and add to the mixture.
    • Leave to infuse at least 1 hour, but it’s better with 24 hours.

Please share this recipe for sourdough pita bread on social media

This is my recipe for sourdough pita bread. If you like the recipe please consider sharing it with like-minded food lovers on social media.

If you make it and post it on Instagram, please tag me as @foodgeek.dk so I can see it. That would make me very happy.

Sourdough Pita Bread

Course: Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Arabic, Greek, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Syrian
Keyword: pita, sourdough pita
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Fermentation: 12 hours
Total: 12 hours 32 minutes
Servings: 8 pitas
Calories: 232kcal
Author: Sune Trudslev
Nutrition Facts
Sourdough Pita Bread
Amount Per Serving (1 pita)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 487mg21%
Carbohydrates 42g14%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 7g14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Pita Bread is surprisingly easy to make, and it's a delicious flatbread with a built-in pocket for all the delicious things you can come up with.
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Equipment

Ingredients

  • 308 g bread flour
  • 77 g whole grain wheat flour
  • 225 g sourdough starter
  • 211 g water
  • 25 g olive oil
  • 15 g sugar
  • 10 g salt

Instructions

Make the dough

  • In a medium bowl add: 308g bread flour, 77g whole grain flour, 15g sugar and 10g salt.
  • Mix it with your fingers to distribute everything evenly.
  • Then add 25g olive oil, 225g sourdough starter (fed and risen to its peak) and 211g water.
  • Mix until all the flour has been hydrated.
  • Then flour your counter and and knead the dough until it's smooth; adding extra flour as needed so you have a tacky but not sticky dough.

Ferment the dough

  • Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it and let it ferment around 6 hours at room temperature until the dough has doubled in size.
  • After it's doubled put it in the fridge until you need it. It can easily stay in the fridge for up to one week.

Pre-shape the pitas

  • Heat your oven to 260°C/500°F with a baking steel inside. Alternatively an inverted baking sheet.
  • Divide the dough into 8 equally sized pieces.
  • Shape each piece of dough into a ball and tighten the surface by pushing the dough up into the center of the ball, then turning the dough about an eighth. Going for as many iterations as it takes.
  • Place all the balls under a dish towel. Let them rest for 20 minutes.

Shape the pitas

  • Roll out each ball into a very flat round piece of dough. Go for as thin as you can without tearing the dough.
  • Place each disc under dish towels so that they don't dry out.
  • After about 20 minutes you should be ready to bake.

Bake the pita

  • If you want to make them on the stove top, go to the next section.
  • If you are very nimble you may be able to bake more than one pita at a time, but since they bake so quickly I suggest that you bake them separately if it's your first time.
  • Open the oven and add a pita to the baking steel and close the oven.
  • Bake for about 1½ minutes. In the last 30 seconds the pita should puff up like crazy. If it doesn't puff up, extend this time until it does.
  • Then open the oven and flip over the pita using a spatula.
  • Bake for one minute more.
  • Put the pitas on a wire rack until you finish baking.

Make on cast-iron skillet

  • Heat a cast-iron skillet to highest heat possible for at least 15 minutes.
  • Put a pita on the pan and wait for it to puff up, 1-2 minutes.
  • Flip it over and bake another minute on the other side.
  • Put on a wire rack while you prepare the rest of the pitas on the skillet.

Video

Noter

The pita bread can be used immediately, cooled down, stored in a plastic bag and reheated later, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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