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Real Sourdough Pita Bread

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

A collage of pita bread with text overlay.

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.

The Falafel's Drive In marquee in San Jose, California.

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

If you are so lucky to be in the area and order a falafel sandwich, you will 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.

A stack of sourdough pita bread.

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

A close-up of a sourdough pita bread.

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!

A stack of sourdough pita bread with text overlay.

Watch Me Shape and Cook Sourdough Pita Bread in This Short Demo Video. 

Real Sourdough Pita Bread

Real Sourdough Pita Bread

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 1 day
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 40 minutes

This soft and chewy sourdough pita recipe uses the same formula as my sourdough boule but is shaped and cooked differently.


  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 to 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 five more times for a total of seven 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°F 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 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.

Kelly Darby

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Hello, When you say cook the flattened dough balls on the stone for 2 minutes. Do you flip it at any time or just two minutes and remove it? Thank you for your help. :)

Butter For All

Monday 21st of September 2020

Hi Kelly!

No I don't flip them. You can watch the demo video here!

Happy baking!



Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Hi Courtney! I love your site!!

I was wondering if I don’t have a baking stone could I heat up my cast iron skillet in the oven and use that?


Butter For All

Monday 21st of September 2020

Hi Greer!

YES! 100% you can use a cast iron griddle or skillet, works great. Good instinct!



Wednesday 15th of July 2020

Hi Courtney, This will be my third round of baking your pitot. Love them so much. I finished my stretch & golds and It’s only 8 pm. I’m ready to wind down and I honestly can’t remember if I’ve put the dough in the fridge overnight to ferment before. It’s a warm summer here in New Mexico and monsoon-y too so unusually humid for us and I think if I’m not baking til 8 am. I might leave it room temp til 10:30pm and then fridge and remove when I get up and leave to return to room temp. That’s the plan. Do you think a 12-16 hr room temp proof at 75°- 78° in house at least Would lean to over proofing? (For next time) This time they also got 20g of whole wheat because I ran out of bread flour. Not that that will make any real difference except the rise and stretch and folds were toooooo perfect this time. I think it’s the warm house. Can’t wait for breakfast.

Butter For All

Friday 17th of July 2020

Hi Rachel!

That's so great to hear! I'm glad you are loving them so much!

I think your plan sounds right for the temperature where you are. Good intuition. An overnight ferment at that temp would probably overproof. You could also try my cooler trick. Take one or two blue ice in the cooler and let your dough proof in there overnight. That should slow it down but you won't have to wait the next day!

Hope they were awesome!



Thursday 18th of June 2020

Hi Courtney! If I want to use half whole wheat flour and half regular bread flour how much should I increase the hydration of the recipe? I really want to try your method (they look lovely). Thanks!

Butter For All

Thursday 25th of June 2020

Hi Valeria!

I would start with 15-20g of additional water. It shouldn't take too much. No more than 50g total. You only want to raise the hydration by about 5% generally. I hope they work out!



Saturday 6th of June 2020

How come some poof up more than others and all dough from same batch? Did I do something wrong? Thank you

Butter For All

Sunday 7th of June 2020

Hi Karen,

It probably has to do with your shaping and rolling technique. They need to be a very tight ball rolled very thin to poof! Could also be due to temperature.You can send a photo to and I'll take a look!


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