1. In a large bowl, place warm water, yeast, sugar, and one cup flour. Whisk together and allow to rest for 15–20 minutes.
2. Add oil, salt, and remaining flour. Mix with a spoon until the dough is too thick to continue mixing. Turn the dough onto the counter and continue to knead until nice and smooth. You may need to add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky.
3. Clean the bowl and grease lightly. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for one to two hours until doubled in size.
4. Once dough has risen, punch it down and divide into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and lay on a greased baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit (240 degrees Celsius). If you have a baking/pizza stone, allow it to heat in the oven. If not, use a cookie sheet turned upside down.
6. Roll each ball of dough into six to eight-inch (15–20-centimeter) circle approximately 1/4-inch (1/2 centimeter) thick. Don’t roll it too thin or your pitas won’t puff up.
7. When the oven is heated, place two to three pitas on the pizza stone or baking sheet. Using a spray bottle, spray each pita with some water.
8. Bake for three to four minutes. The pitas should have a few brown spots and be puffing up. Remove from oven and cover with a towel until ready to serve.
– This recipe starts with making a “sponge.” This method produces a lighter texture and keeps the bread fresh for longer.
– A hot oven and baking surface is key. Make sure to preheat the oven with the tray fully inside.
– Spraying the dough with a little bit of water at the beginning of baking helps the pita puff up nicely.