The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

pita question

cyalexa's picture

pita question

I am going to try my hand at pita bread using the recipe posted under favorites on this site. I will be serving them with dips so do not want a pocket. How do I avoid the puff in the oven that results in the pocket/ From reading the comments following the recipe I am inclined to make the breads thicker. Is this right? Other suggestions? Thanks in advance.

ehanner's picture

Well that's an interesting change. Usually people want to know how to get the dough to puff up well so they do have a pocket.

I've never tried to get the pita to not puff but I can tell you the way to get it to puff is by allowing a 15 minute rest time after rolling out the dough. So the reverse procedure would be to bake on a hot stone immediately after rolling out into shape. I think you might need to adjust the baking time since it is a more dense dough without further rising.


swtgran's picture

What about pricking it a few times before baking to let the air that would be puffing it, escape?

Caltrain's picture

Yep, the traditional approach is to roll them thicker and to probably bake at lower temperatures. You'll get laffa that's great for shawarmas or just as a general-purpose sandwich wrap.

Prickling's probably also fine, but thick rolling's better if you still want some small air puffs in there.

You can also make them over a stove top if you want more control over the baking.

jackie9999's picture

Half the fun is watching them puff as they bake :)

Once they're out of the oven they will collapse. When they've cooled I store in ziploc bags and cut into triangles and toast them, rarely do I try and open up to use the pocket. You could give that a try...

Judon's picture

It seems as though you've gotten some good answers.

I've been making a lot of pita and flat bread lately for an Egyptian friend who is off her feet til the new bundle arrives.

Here's an excerpt from The Complete Middle East Cookbook, by T. Mallos, for flat bread without a pocket:

"Do not rest bread after shaping, and prick with a fork or pinwheel. Bake on a hot griddle or baking sheet for 4 minutes, pressing bread with a cloth if it looks as though a pocket is forming. Turn to brown other side after 2 minutes or brown under grill after baking." Flatbreads and Flavors by Jeffrey Alford has a recipe for lavash that gives directions for flat (pocketless) bread. It's pliable if baked right, not like the crackers.

I cook my flat breads (lafahs) on top of an inverted, lightly oiled wok over a gas burner. They are perfect for falafels but I think you'll find pitas are better suited for dips. 

Google homemade pita chips and you'll find lots of recipes.


farina22's picture

I usually make the pita breads as usual, with puffing. Once they've cooled, I cut them into two full-moon halves. Then I brush them with some olive oil and za'atar and put them back in the oven to crisp up. It makes delicious, dippable chips.

punainenkettu's picture

I use Pitas for dipping often and that's a great recipe. I didn't know I should let them sit to get a better puff so I have been just rolling them and slapping them right in the oven, so that won't keep them flat because I almost always get a nice puff so I would just prick it with a fork.  Thanks though to ehanner for the tip about letting them rest.


cyalexa's picture

Thanks to all for the input.

I use the recipe on this site, but baked at 350F immediately after shaping. I got a little puffing but was pleased in general with the outcome. I made a double batch of dough but only baked about 3/4 of it and froze the rest. I'll go for the puff with the leftover dough sometime in the near future.  

TheScruffyOne's picture

forgive my lack of knowledge, but wouldnt a non puffed pitta be more like a naan bread?

cyalexa's picture

Naan, laffa, flat bread, whatever! Perhaps someone more knowledagble than I am will explain the differences.

Regardless, I was happy with the recipe, both as flat bread and subsequently when rested and baked at a high temp to encourage puffing.  

mrfrost's picture

From what I understand, pitas are not always made to be puffed. Some are not puffed, on purpose. So yes, they are similar, as are the various flatbreads shared by many cultures throughout the world.

In a similar vein, don't naan breads often puff?

TheScruffyOne's picture

Naans, as far as I'm aware, tend to bubble, rather than puff like pittas. Almost like a pitta gone wrong. they seem to be thicker too (maybe thats why they dont puff)