Pita Bread

I found this recipe for pita bread back at Easter when my sister and I made an Israeli inspired meal to celebrate the holiday. There was no way I was going to make all of those Middle Eastern dishes and not serve fresh pita, it was just too perfect. I had made pita once before and I didn't love how it turned out, but it had been a long time. It was time to give it another try, and boy am I glad that I did. This time around the pita turned out perfectly! It was soft, delicious and just wonderful. 

There are so many options for what to do with pita. At Easter I just cut it up into wedges and served it along with homemade hummus. It was also perfect for soaking up all of the extra juices from the chicken I served. It also makes for a fantastic wrap, the perfect vehicle to stuff with your favorite ingredients. If you have some leftover, brush with some oil and salt and pop it in the oven for a little while until it dries out and you've got homemade pita chips. So many options, give it a try and find your favorite!

This recipe is pretty simple. I really like how the dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, so you can have fresh pita all week! It's so much fun to watch the pita poof up in the oven, almost like magic. It makes me happy every time. Beware, once you make homemade pita, you will be ruined for life. You'll never want to buy that hard, stale, flavorless pita from the grocery store ever again. 

Pita Bread
From The Food Network

  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water 
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • About 4 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bread bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add whole wheat flour, one cup at a time, then 1 cup white flour. Stir 100 times (one minute) in the same direction to activate the gluten in the flour. Let this sponge rest for at least 10 minutes or as long as 2 hours.

Sprinkle salt over the sponge and stir in the olive oil. Mix well. Add white flour, one cup at a time. When the dough is too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured bread board and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bread bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until at least double in size, approximately 1 1/2 hours. Gently punch down. Dough can be made ahead to this point and then stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 5 days or less.

If at this time you want to save the dough in the refrigerator for baking later, simply wrap it in a plastic bag that is at least three times the size of the dough, pull the bag together, and secure it just at the opening of the bag. This will give the dough a chance to expand when it is in the refrigerator (which it will do). From day to day, simply cut off the amount of dough you need and keep the rest in the refrigerator, for up to one week. The dough will smell slightly fermented after a few days, but this simply improves the taste of the bread. Dough should be brought to room temperature before baking.

This amount of dough will make approximately 16 pitas if rolled out into circles approximately 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4-inch thick. You can also of course make smaller breads. Size and shape all depend on you, but for breads of this dimension the following baking tips apply:

Place large baking stone or two baking sheets, on a rack in the bottom third of your oven, leaving a one inch gap all around to allow air to circulate. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough in half, then set half aside, covered, while you work with the rest. Divide dough into eight equal pieces and flatten each piece with lightly floured hands. Roll out each piece to a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter. You may wish to roll out all eight before starting to bake. Cover rolled out breads, but do not stack.

Bake 2 at a time (or more if your oven is larger) directly on baking stone or baking sheets. Bake each bread for 3 or 4 minutes, until the bread has gone into a full "balloon" or until it is starting to turn lightly golden, whichever happens first. If there are seams or dry bits of dough - or for a variety of other reasons - your bread may not go into a full "balloon". Don't worry, it will still taste great. The more you bake pitas the more you will become familiar with all the little tricks and pitfalls, and your breads will more consistently "balloon." But even then, if you're like us, it won't always "balloon" fully and you won't mind because the taste will still be wonderful. When baked, remove, place on a rack for about five minutes to let cool slightly, then wrap breads in a large kitchen towel (this will keep the breads soft). When first half of the dough has been rolled out and baked, repeat for rest of dough, or store in refrigerator for later use, as described above. You can also divide the dough into more, smaller pieces if you wish, to give you smaller breads.

Rosemary Onion Focaccia

The idea of focaccia always sounds so appealing to me, a flatbread rich with olive oil and topped with any number of delicious things. It's really like a pizza in disguise, dressed a little differently so you can eat several slices without feeling too guilty. In the past however, I've attempted to make focaccia a couple of different times and have never been very successful at it. It's always been, well, just okay. But I want more than okay, I know it can be so much more than that. With this recipe I've found my stride, I have found a focaccia that is well beyond okay. This bread was soft and light, tender and rich, topped with just a few simple accompaniments. It really was what I've been looking for. I can't wait to play around with different toppings and flavors. With this focaccia as a base I know they will all be great!

This recipe was very simple, and pretty quick as yeasted bread goes. Knead everything together and let it rise for about an hour. I was in a little bit of a hurry and only let it rise for about 45 minutes and it didn't seem to matter at all. Then all you have to do is press it into your pan and let it sit for only about 20 minutes. While it's resting you can get your toppings together. I went simple this time with some thinly sliced onion, rosemary, a sprinkling of pecorino and some sea salt, but there are so many options when it comes to focaccia, you can really do whatever you want. After the 20 minutes rest, just top it off and stick it in the oven. In another 20 minutes you'll have a beautiful golden brown round of rich, savory bread. You really can't go wrong.

Rosemary Onion Focaccia

Adapted From 

Food and Wine


  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Roughly chopped rosemary
  • Grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water, honey and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Knead the dough on medium speed until smooth and supple, 5-6 minutes. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 1 hour. 

Transfer the dough to a well oiled 9-inch cake pan, pressing it down to fit and dimpling it all over with your fingers. Drizzle the dough with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and let rise until puffed, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle the dough to taste with the thinly sliced onion, rosemary, cheese and salt. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the focaccia. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 450 degrees until golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool. 

Soft Wrap Bread

Sandwiches are near the top of my list of favorite things to eat. I could eat one at every meal and never get tired of them because the possibilities are endless. There are so many different kinds of breads, meats, cheeses, spreads, toppings etc., you never have to eat the same sandwich twice! I love a sandwich built with some freshly baked bread as the base, but sometimes all I want is a thin, soft sheet of flatbread to roll up my sandwich within, that is where this wrap bread comes in.

Over the years I've used a lot of flour tortillas to make wraps for lunch, and although they are okay, they have never been exactly what I wanted. They are usually kind of dry and stale and just don't have that much flavor. I tried making my own once, but the recipe I used just didn't impress me. When I found this recipe though, I was hopeful that it was what I was looking for. Boy was it ever. These wrap breads are the most delicious thing since, well, sliced bread! They are soft, tender and absolutely delicious. I have yet to be disappointed when these wonderful wraps are the base for my sandwich.

The recipe for this soft wrap bread is a little odd, it starts with pouring boiling water over top of flour and letting it sit for about 30 minutes. King Arthur Flour says that this process basically "cooks" the starch in the flour, making the flatbread easy to roll out, and removes any "starchy" taste in the finished bread. Whatever it is doing chemically, I like it. The bread is wonderful to roll out and the flavor in the finished product is super yummy.

After this initial starch cooking, the dough is put together like most breads I've made. However, the dough you are left with after the kneading is finished is very odd. The texture is very different from most doughs. It may not seem quite right, I was kind of doubtful the first time I made it, but have no fear, it will all work out in the end. After letting the dough sit for an hour (it didn't really rise much for me), all that is left is to cut it up, roll it out, and dry fry it in a skillet. The recipe tells you to roll out each piece of dough into a 7-8 inch circle, but I decided I wanted mine a little bigger and thinner (more like a tortilla) and didn't seem to have any problem with the finished product.

Frying up each piece of dough can take a little bit of time, but trust me, it is so worth it. This wrap bread is on its way to becoming a staple in my house. I don't think I'll ever buy a tortilla again!

 Shaped dough, read to fry

 Make sure you have lots of flour

 Start rolling

 Keep going!

 Perfect, ready to cook

 Into the fairly hot pan

 When it starts to brown, flip it over

 Stack them up as you go

(I made a double batch this time)

Fill them up and dinner is served!

Soft Wrap Bread
Adapted From King Arthur Flour

  • 3 1/4-3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast*

*This recipe works best with instant yeast because it dissolves during the kneading process, so you don't have to knead liquid into the dough. If you really prefer to use active dry yeast, use only 1 cup boiling water for the initial dough, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water, and add this mixture to the dough along with the remaining flour mixture. It'll be somewhat "slippery" at first, but will knead in and eventually become smooth.

Making the Dough: Place 2 cups of the flour into a bowl or the bucket of a bread machine. Pour the boiling water over the flour, and stir till smooth. Cover the bowl or bucket and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining flour with the salt, oil and yeast. Add this to the cooled flour/water mixture, stir, then knead for several minutes (by hand, mixer or bread machine) to form a soft dough. The dough should form a ball, but will remain somewhat sticky. Add additional flour only if necessary; if kneading by hand, keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled. Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour.

Shaping: Divide the dough into 8 or 10 pieces, cover, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Roll each piece into a 7- to 8-inch circle, and dry-fry them (fry without oil) over medium heat for about 1 minute per side, until they're puffed and flecked with brown spots. Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking either too quickly, or too slowly; cooking too quickly means they may be raw in the center, while too slowly will dry them out. Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack, stacking them to keep them soft. Serve immediately, or cool slightly before storing in a plastic bag. Yield: 8 breads.