Authentic Arabic Bread - Basic Dough

Whenever we make dough for Zaatar pies, we save some to make Arabic (pita) bread. This is a Basic Dough recipe which is used to make Spinach, Meat and other hand-shaped small pies, as well as bread.  The dough is rolled thinner than for pita rounds, and is folded and sealed around a variety of fillings. This bread is present at almost every Lebanese meal. Another variety of Arabic bread that I love is rolled paper-thin and cooked on the top of a domed outdoor oven.  It is called 'marqooq', and is like lavash but much thinner. It can be found at Middle Eastern or Persian markets.

It's ideal for rolled sandwiches and making pin wheel appetizers, but since the dough is thin you need to use fillings that are not very wet, so the bread doesn't become soggy.

Traditionally, Arabic bread loaves are 10-11" round, but you can make them smaller, like the popular store-bought pita.

I use my larger Cuisinart to mix the dough, and then knead it 5 minutes by hand, or sometimes I let my KitchenAid mixer do all the work.  I leave that up to you.

Depending on the size of rounds you decide to make, this recipe will yield anywhere from 12 - 16 loaves.


  • 4 c. organic all-purpose Flour
  • 2 c. organic Barley Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 packets (4 tsp.) dry Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. organic Evaporated Cane Sugar
  • 2  to 2-1/4 c. tepid Water
  • 3 Tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sift flour and salt. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water, and proof for 5 minutes.

Fit mixer with dough hook, or Cuisinart with dough paddle. Put flour in mixer bowl and add water and yeast mixture. Process until smooth.

Remove dough and place on floured board.  Knead for 5 minutes.  Dough should be soft but not very sticky.  Add a little more flour or water depending on consistency.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions, and divide each of those into 3 -4 balls depending on size preference. Cover balls with towel and let rest another 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 425º F, turn a cookie sheet upside down and place it on the middle rack of the oven while you are preheating the oven.  You will bake the bread on this surface (if you have a pizza stone then you can use that instead.)

Dust your work surface with a light coating of flour.  Slightly flatten one of the balls of dough with your hands and sprinkle a bit of flour on top.

Roll the dough out to between 1/8 and 1/4 " thick. If the dough does not stretch easily cover it with the damp towel and let it rest 5 to 10 minutes before trying again.

Repeat with rest of dough.

Place as many pitas as you can fit on the hot baking sheet surface. They should be baked through and puffy after 3-4 minutes.

Remove onto cooling rack with dough paddle, or large spatula.

Store bread in airtight bag. Will keep for 2 days at room temperature, or in refrigerator for 5-6 days.

~ Sahtein! (double health).