Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Mix the flour and salt and add them gradually to the liquid, beating vigorously. Mix the flour really energetically for at least 8-10 minutes to condition it. Add the olive oil and mix once more. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Leave the dough to rise in a bowl covered with oiled clingfilm for approximately 1½ hours, until doubled in size. Bring the dough together on a well-floured work surface. Divide it into eight pieces and form them into balls. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then roll into flat ovals about 5mm/¼inch thick. Leave them to prove in a warm place between two floured tea towels for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/gas 8 and warm one or two greased baking sheets.
Slip the breads on to the sheet or sheets and bake for approximately 6 minutes. It is not intended that they should colour, so more than one shelf may be used in the oven at one time, but the heat must be intense enough to cause them to puff up (the result of steam forcing the two halves of the bread apart, which is one reason for the initial dough being moist). Cool briefly on wire racks, then wrap them in tea towels to keep the crusts soft. Eat them warm.
‘Family size’ pitta breads can be made by dividing this amount of dough into four pieces. The cooking time will need to be slightly longer.