When you make pittas at home, the oven is like a magician’s cave as you watch the dough puff up and transform into bread. 






Skill level

Average: 4.2 (20 votes)

The secret is to roll out the dough as thin as you can and to put the pittas onto a very hot baking tray. This ferocious initial burst of heat helps them puff up and cook properly.



  • 250 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 5 g salt
  • 7 g fast-action dried yeast
  • 20 g nigella or black onion seeds
  • 160 ml cool water
  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Rising time: at least 1 hour 

1. Put the flour into a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the nigella seeds, pour in 120ml of the water and add the 2 tsp oil. Mix the ingredients together, using the fingers of one hand. Add the remaining water a little at a time until you have a smooth, soft dough and you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl; you may not need all the water.

2. Pour a little oil onto a work surface and place the dough on it. Knead for 5–10 minutes or until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

3. When the dough is soft, smooth and stretchy, shape it into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave to rise until the dough has at least doubled in size – at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220°C fan-forced [see Note] (or higher) and put 2 baking trays inside to heat up.

4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back by folding the dough in on itself repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide the dough into 4–6 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball with your fingertips, then roll into an oval, 5mm–1cm thick.

5. Take the hot trays from the oven, dust with flour and lay the pittas on them. Bake for 5–10 minutes until the breads puff up and just start to take on a hint of colour.

6. Wrap the pittas in a cloth, to trap the steam and keep them soft, and leave to cool. They are best eaten the same day, or they can be frozen. (You can fill these with Paul's pork souvlaki with Cypriot salad). 



• Baking times and instructions are given for fan-forced ovens. If using a conventional oven, you will need to increase the oven setting by around 10-15°C.  



Recipe and images from Paul Hollywood's Bread by Paul Hollywood (Bloomsbury, available in hardback and e-book)