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Arabic bread–Pita bread

When we lived in Seattle I started making Arabic bread each week in order to perfect it and have a supply on hand. I had several lady friends who lived near me,we traded recipes and exchanged ideas on making various dishes.  We would run over to each others houses if we had good results from our bread, discuss the texture of the dough and what had made this particular batch successful!

.My first experience with making bread was quite different than those days in Seattle. I had purchased a book of Middle Eastern type recipes and each time he would come home he would look at the dish and try to figure out what it was! I would proudly tell him the name in my kindergarten Arabic and he would simply and warmly smile saying it looked interesting! I soon learned that this book was not very authentic and didn’t offer the needed tips. I had heard stories of his mother and aunts making bread, yogurt and everything else in between, but never going to buy food from the nearby shops. I wanted to be like them and make a warm and happy home filled with the aromas of home cooked meals. He made the suggestion that I take my bread to some real Arab ladies and get their advice. I was embarrassed by this but agreed. I was invited to meet a new lady at her  house along with several other women, all from different Arab countries. I was new to Arab culture and felt a bit out of place, but as the night wore on and I got to know these lovely ladies I felt at home. I decided to take out my little bag that held a single piece of Arabic bread. I explained that I needed their help in making the perfect bread. They picked up the bread, turned it over and then muttered to each other in Arabic. The look on their faces was one of curiosity and alarm. Each asked in turn, where this bread came from. I told them I made it, they said who made it? where did you get it? Did you put it in the oven? what did you make it out of? Is this made with flour?  It was then that I realized times had changed from one generation to the next.

Ingredients

6 cups flour

2 1/2  cups warm water

2 envelopes yeast

1 tsp. sugar

3 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. salt

Directions

When making Arabic bread use extreme caution. The oven needs to be at a high temperature, the bread is also very hot when removing it from the oven! When I made bread I kept my little children out of the kitchen! Do not let little hands grab a piece of hot bread!! It is very hot!

As with everything I make, I put some of this, a little of that. I have never measured the ingredients for Arabic bread. This time I did and I even sent the recipe to my good friend Abigail, a wonderful home cook and nursing student. She graciously agreed to try this recipe and tell me how it went. So I went over it again and have added some more tips. According to Abigail, this bread was fairly easy if you are accustomed to making bread. But again you must use your knowledge of bread making because while I measured, this is still an estimate.

Put yeast in 1 cup of very warm water with a pinch of sugar and stir, let it activate and puff, a couple minutes. Put the flour, salt and olive oil in a mixing bowl , add water mixed with yeast and the other 1 1/2 cups of water.

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Start the dough mixing as you would with any other dough.  This dough should be slightly sticky but also workable! Let the dough knead for several minutes until it comes together. Keep kneading either by hand or in your mixer until dough is ready.

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The dough should be soft but you should also be able to work with it, if it is too sticky you can add  flour, one spoon at a time in order to make it more workable. Abigail said she added 5 extra spoons of flour.

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Cover and let dough double, punch dough down.

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Place a clean cloth on a flat surface and roll dough into balls. Use a motion of tucking it under and pinching.

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Cover the dough for about 15 minutes

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Use a rolling pin and roll it out, turn it over and roll, it’s all about the rolling!!

Rolling the dough is very important, so roll it out and turn it over and continue

rolling it until it has spread out and is even. So, not just a quick roll on each side!

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Now, cover and let rest again for maybe 15-20 minutes.

Picture below is in the middle of rolling, this was rolled again several times._DSC0257

The oven needs to be super hot–450 degrees. Use a heavy duty baking pan. Now it is hot! Use extreme caution when placing bread in and when turning bread! 

Place the baking sheet in the oven and let it heat for a minute or so, open door and put a bread piece on the sheet. Shut the door, It should puff up after a couple minutes. Let it bake for several minutes. Turn it over using an ovenproof utensil such as tongs or a pancake turner, brown both sides.

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Remove from oven and again, the bread in this stage is super hot, even the escaping steam can burn you so use caution!

120 Comments Post a comment
  1. Definitely pinning this! Most of the shops here in Crete sell Arabic bread and I love it but it couldn’t possibly taste as good as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  2. Thanks so much for sharing this…I’d love to try this out 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  3. izza ifzaal #

    Looks great

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  4. Deanne #

    Yummy! Most definitely have to try this, it looks so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  5. Wow, that is an awful lot of work. Looks delicious but I think I will just try to find an Arabic bakery.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
    • yes it is! Back then, 30 years ago it was different not so many choices for Arabic bread! So I had to make it! Now I just do it for fun sometimes!!

      Like

      September 19, 2015
  6. I made pita once and it didn’t come out nearly as nicely as yours. Will try your recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  7. This seems like something that should not be attempted by a novice bread maker 😝 In Pakistani culture we make a similar bread but we make it on the stovetop.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  8. Lynz I love making bread. My favourite is sourdough and I made my very first starter just after Christmas. It’s still working so I must have done something right ☺
    I also make a stuffed couronne – a brioche type dough stuffed with parma ham, buffalo mozzarella and basil. A meal in itself and very yummy. I only make it every now and again as the filling ingredients make it too expensive to make it often. Love making lemon and rosemary focaccia too.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  9. Love it…such simple ingredients…it’s all in the technique. Thanks. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  10. I admire your tenacity to get it right Lynz especially so many years ago where you could not just go buy it in Saudi! My Mom is the bread maker not me!!! I personally do not eat a lot of bread products not my fav. Kudos for your efforts and final Arabic bread recipe! Cheryl

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  11. Mmm..love pitta bread! Yours look lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  12. Good for you to make your own pita bread. I’ve made a lot of bread (and continue to do so) but never pita. Thanks for the story and the recipe – I thought it was hard cooking for my Southern husband (here in the US) but you had a real challenge:)

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  13. Have to try this!!!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  14. Cute story. Good-looking bread.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  15. This is very useful, thank you 🙂 I’ve made Arabic bread before but they weren’t as soft as I’d like, so I’ll try again with your recipe x

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  16. Delicious bread Lynz 😀
    I make my own bread and will try your recipe here. Have you tried with more healthy flour also?
    I use to bake bread with healthy flour.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  17. I was right…you are a rock star 😉

    Like

    September 19, 2015
  18. I can smell it from here….looks yummy…..

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  19. Perfectly puffed up pita bread ! Awesome job Lynn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  20. Yum! I’ve made bread, and tortillas, but never have tried pita bread. I love it so one day I may. I’m bookmarking this recipe, and pinning it so I can find it again!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  21. This looks great !

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  22. I used to make a “pita” bread when my children were young. They loved watching the flat rounds of dough blow up like balloons through the oven window. But yes, it was a very hot oven. I would clear the kitchen of all spectators when it was time to take the breads out to cool! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  23. Thanks for the great pictures! I’m not a good bread maker… It’s a work in process:)

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  24. I don’t measure either..but bread looks delish will have to try… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
  25. Can I use my Zojirushi bread maker to go up to the dough part and after the kneading and rising part, I can take it out and do the rolling out and baking in the oven?

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2015
    • I think you should be able to? I have never used one so I don’t know but I can’t see why not.

      Like

      September 19, 2015
  26. Oh yum – I think that this would be great to mop up a tagine that I am planning for next week….

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
  27. Ah.. Its just a simple yeast dough.. OK.. Do you know some other breads? There seem to be so many of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
  28. Wow, my favorite bread! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
  29. yummy! I also love to make flat bread and wanted to write a feed on it! Great job!

    Like

    September 20, 2015
  30. Is the center hollow?

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
  31. leticialullabies #

    It looks amazing! I’ll need to try to make it.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
  32. Pita bread and falafel sandwich are my new found love.. 😊 Thanks for sharing.. would definitely try this out.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
  33. I don’t really make bread but this looks really good. I may try it sometime if I ever get in the mood to bake. I did, however, make homemade tortillas once and my husband has been begging for me to make it again ever since…and it doesn’t even require baking!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 20, 2015
    • yes I made them once and they were yummy! I don’t blame him for wanting more I am sure they were wonderful!

      Like

      September 20, 2015
  34. I am really going to try this recipe! Had been looking for pita bread recipe since long 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 21, 2015
  35. This looks a bit intimidating but I might give it a go. I’ve made pizza dough with my kids, which was quite a different kind of experience: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/day-3-yeast-pizza-from-scratch-and-quirky-apple-pie/ You’ll love the photo of my son with his hands caked in dough. xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    September 21, 2015
  36. Is this similar to kavash?

    Liked by 1 person

    September 21, 2015
  37. These look perfect

    Liked by 1 person

    September 21, 2015
  38. Wow, what an interesting story! I must say…very impressive steam pocket. I could eat these all day long with a little olive oil and cheese 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 22, 2015
  39. Homemade Pita! Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    September 22, 2015
  40. East or west your blog is the best☺☺☺

    Keep smiling,
    -glee sparkle

    Liked by 1 person

    September 28, 2015

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