Chef Jim Botsacos of Molyvos restaurant in Manhattan showed us his simple, straightforward technique for fluffy, fresh pita, perfect for eating with your favorite dip or hummus. See the step-by-step photo gallery »
- 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading/forming
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1⁄4 cup and 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
Preheat Oven to 350°. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1⁄2 cup of warm water. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the salt in 1 cup of warm water. Add the flour and turn the mixer on. Slowly add the yeast mixture and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. Mix until the dough combines (it will be tacky), about 2 minutes. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place on a lightly greased sheet pan. Coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 (5 oz.) pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the plastic wrap stick to the balls (you can do this by placing coffee mugs or short glasses on the sheet pan). Let the balls proof for 15 minutes.
Lightly dust one piece of dough at a time on both sides with flour. Push the dough out with your fingers in a circular motion to create a disk that is approximately 5" in diameter and 1⁄2" thick. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough in a clockwise motion to get it to 7" in diameter and 1⁄8" thick.
Transfer the dough to an inverted lightly floured sheet pan. Place in the 350° oven and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the bread over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the bread and cover with a damp towel. Let the bread sit for 10 minutes, or until cooled.
When ready to serve, lightly brush the pitas with the remaining olive oil and grill for 1-1 1⁄2 minutes on each side. It should be warm but still pliable. Cut the bread into wedges and serve.
Correction: An earlier version of this recipe misstated the amount of salt needed in the dough. The recipe has been changed to reflect the correct amount.