Learn how to make homemade pita bread with this simple recipe; I promise it's easier than you think! So much better than store-bought, you can use your pita for sandwiches, gyros, dipping into hummus... anything you'd like!
Make the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add 1¼ cups of the water water and the olive oil and stir together with a wooden spoon. All of the ingredients should form a ball. If some of the flour will not stick to the ball, add more water a small amount at a time.
Once all of the ingredients form a ball, place the ball on a work surface and knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes, until slightly tacky and soft. If you are using an electric mixer, mix it at low speed for 10 minutes.
1st Rise: Place the kneaded dough into a greased bowl, turning to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise until it has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
Roll Into Balls: When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to release some of the trapped gases and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel, and let them rest for 20 minutes. This step allows the dough to relax so that it'll be easier to shape.
Preheat the Oven: While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to preheat as well. If you do not have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven. This will be the surface on which you bake your pitas.
Shape the Pita: After the dough has relaxed for 20 minutes, spread a light coating of flour on a work surface and place one of the balls of dough there. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on top of the dough and use a rolling pin or your hands to stretch and flatten the dough. You should be able to roll it out to between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick - 6 inches in diameter. If the dough does not stretch sufficiently you can cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.
Bake the Pitas: Open the oven and place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3 minutes. If you want your pitas to be crispy and brown you can bake them for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, but it isn't necessary. Wrap the baked pitas in a kitchen towel to help trap some of the steam and keep them soft.