Real Sourdough Pita Bread

 

Pita bread will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

 

My father worked at San Jose City College near one of the most iconic falafel spots in North America, Falafel’s Drive In! On the special occasion that I got to accompany him to the ceramics studio we would always eat lunch there.

 

 

A falafel sandwich, hummus with soft warm pita, real banana milkshake, and a baklava were the common lunchtime orders for us.

If you are so lucky to be in the area and order a falafel sandwich, you would find spicy and fragrant falafel balls nestled in a crisp lettuce salad with tomato, cucumber, and tahini dressing all bulging out of a soft and chewy pita bread.

 

 

Pita bread reminds me of a warm hug, the way it surrounds and snuggles all those marvelous exotic flavors.

 

 

This recipe for real sourdough pita bread is soft and stretchy, making it perfect for filling with your favorites. Try hummus and veggies, sprouted falafel balls (coming soon!), spicy buttery chicken, shawarma, roasted lamb or anything else you can dream up!

 

Pita bread overflowing with falafel fillings!

 

Cut the pitas in wedges, toss them in ghee and salt, and bake them for the BEST PITA CHIPS EVER!

 

 

Watch me shape and cook Sourdough Pita Bread in this short demo video. 

 

 

5 from 1 vote
Real Sourdough Pita Bread
Prep Time
1 d
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 d 40 mins
 

This soft and chewy Sourdough Pita recipe uses the same formula as my Perfect Sourdough Boule but it is shaped and cooked differently.

Course: Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Ferment, Side Dish
Keyword: No Knead, Pita, Sourdough, Stretch and Fold
Servings: 16
Author: Butter For All
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Weigh all ingredients into a glass or ceramic bowl.

  2. Mix the ingredients into a loose shaggy dough with a wooden spoon or dough whisk.

  3. Wet your hands and gently knead the dough in the bowl by hand until it comes together with no excess flour.

  4. Let the dough rest covered for 10-15 minutes.

  5. Start the first stretch and fold by wetting your hands and lifting one side of the dough and folding it toward the middle. Repeat this stretch and fold process in all four directions. Sometimes you can get away with an extra one or two folds depending on the elasticity of the dough. If it wants to stretch, stretch it! If it's tearing or breaking it needs a rest!

  6. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

  7. Start the second stretch and fold by wetting your hands and repeating the same folding motion in (at least) all four directions. 

  8. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

  9. Repeat the stretch and fold and resting process up to 5 more times for a total of 7 stretch and folds (or as many as you are able). I have made great bread by just doing two stretch and folds. But remember, the more stretching and folding, the more gluten will develop, and the higher your bread will rise!

  10. After the last stretch and fold cover the dough and allow it to ferment overnight or at least 8 hours.

  11. Preheat your oven to 550° with your griddle or baking stone inside on the center rack.

  12. Working with the fermented dough, start the final stretch and fold. This will act as the "punch down" of the dough, deflating the gasses trapped inside the gluten network. Stretch the dough several times toward the center, each time pressing down on the dough to remove air bubbles.

  13. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  14. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and shape them into little round balls. Let the balls rest for 10 minutes.

  15. On a generously floured surface, start by rolling one pita into a round about 1/8th of an inch thick with a rolling pin.

  16. Using your hand transfer the rolled dough to the preheated baking stone and cook for 2 minutes or until completely puffed.

  17. While the first pita cooks, roll the second out and so on until all have been rolled and cooked.

  18. Stack the pitas on a plate and cover them with a tea towel trapping some of the steam. This will keep the pitas soft and chewy!

  19. These pitas freeze and defrost beautifully. Just make sure they are completely cooled before freezing.

 

19 Comments

  1. Norman Kaye

    Thanks for your comments. I’ll certainly give it another go. Not going to be beaten.
    With regard to my starter. I keep a jar containing 500gms of 100% hydration wheat starter in my fridge. I bake a loaf of some sort of bread once a week which is more than sufficient for my needs these days. I have a regular routine. Wednesday evening I prepare a preferment using amounts of starter varying between 40 and 120 gms (depends what I am going to make). For this I use the starter straight out of the fridge and bottled water also from the fridge. I immediately replenish the amount removed (50% water and 50% flour) and put it back in the fridge. Thusday I make and bake the loaf. On sunday morning I remove 200 gms of starter (discard, I think you call it) and replenish with 100gm water and 100gms flour. This I leave in the kitchen until mid afternoon when it goes back in the fridge. The discard I use to make all sorts of crispy nibbles (waste not want not and the great grandchildren love them).
    Once every six weeks I transfer the starter to a clean jar and make the quantity back up to 500gms.
    Been doing that now for 15 years.
    Same starter.
    My bread never fails.

  2. Norman Kaye

    As a mere man I have a serious problem with this pita recipe.
    I have been baking bread at home for many, many years and like yourself possess a 15 year old 100% hydration sourdough starter. Pita bread is something I have never tried.
    I use a 13% protein quality bread flour and bottled water and following your recipe to the letter ( using accurate scales, I never make quantity mistakes) I found the dought after some 12 hours had expanded to 250% its original volume after resting overnight for 10 hours. This looked good.
    But, I was completely unable to handle the dough because it was far,far too wet. There was no way I could form small balls and as for rolling it out and getting it onto my baking stone, well just forget it. Stuck to the bench, stuck to the rolling pin, stuck to my fingers. You name it and it stuck to it.
    Help please!!!!

    • Hi Norman!

      Hmmmm. This is an interesting situation. If you still have the dough I think you should try refrigerating the dough for a few hours. Do a preshape in the bowl and stick it in the fridge… Then after it’s chilled, pull it out and try to shape again with plenty of flour. If you still can’t shape it, maybe make a pizza with that dough and start a new batch for pita. During the mixing phase, add just a tad more flour, maybe 60-70g. See if that helps! Two questions, how often do you bake with your starter? How often is it getting fed?

      Let me know,

      Courtney

    • Hi Ellie,

      I would try a cast iron in the oven! You really need that heat from all around to make them poof correctly. If you cook them on the stove you might end up with a flat bread like Naan bread (still good but not the pocket).

      Enjoy the recipe!

      Courtney

  3. Sarah Macombee

    WOHOO!!! There are so many satisfying moments cooking with a sourdough starter. I can now add to the list – being on my haunches after I’ve popped a pita onto the stone, looking through the window and willing the wee thing to puff up and turn into a cushion. I whoop at the top of my lungs and beg whoever is about to come and witness yet another 2 minute miracle. Thank you so much for developing the recipes and sharing them with us all xxx

  4. DEB

    I made these pitas this week. After 6 stretch and folds and 8 hours fermenting, dough was still too loose to shape. So, I covered it and tossed it in the fridge overnight. That did the trick!!

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