Whole Wheat Pita Bread 600 : The Wimpy Vegetarian

You might not guess it from this sedate photo, but these are the drama queens of bread, puffing up dramatically in just a few short minutes in a hot oven from the expansion of carbon dioxide and steam. When they cool off, they slowly deflate to a slightly puffy bread, and when sliced in half reveal cool little pockets perfect for sandwich fixings.

Ubiquitous in the Mideast, Mediterranean, and Balkan countries for centuries, pitas are among of a family of ancient breads that includes na’an, lavash, and tortillas; and while I think the pockets created by the steam are pretty cool, pita bread was originally used more often as an edible utensil to sop up food than as a receptacle for meatballs. When I make pita bread at home today in my modern kitchen, I think of Bedouin women centuries ago patiently forming these doughy disks between their hands, and baking them at the bottom of a vessel over a fire as their children played nearby.

If you choose to make these at home I have a few tips that have served me well through the years:

  • I roll my dough fairly thin, although I’ll admit there’s some controversy about this and some prefer a thicker dough;
  • Always, always, always be sure to roll your rolling pin over the rim of the dough to pinch the edges together;
  • Bake the pita rounds in a very hot oven and use a baking stone — I heat mine to 500 degrees F for an hour before the first batch goes in;
  • Bake the pita rounds directly on a baking stone, or do what I do, and place them on a sheet of parchment paper that is slid onto the baking stone from the back of a baking sheet;
  • Once the breads have expanded, immediately remove them from the oven before they’ve browned, unless you prefer a crispy pita cracker to a soft bread.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

     by Susan Pridmore

     Makes 8 pita rounds

       Prep Time: 195 minutes (including rising time)

       Cook Time: 3 – 4 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water ( 110 – 115 degrees F)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (I use Buckwheat honey)
  • 10 ounces (2 cups) bread flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 5 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Proof the yeast by combining the warm water, yeast and honey in a bowl. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes, by which time you should see significant foaming of the yeast as it expands. With instant yeast, this step isn’t critical, as you can alternatively opt to combine all the ingredients of the entire recipe at the same time, but I like to proof even instant yeast to ensure its freshness before committing to the entire recipe.
  2. Combine the flours and salt together in the bowl of standing mixer, and whisk a couple of times. Add the proofed yeast mixture and olive oil, and mix with the dough hook at the lowest speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to come together as a cohesive dough.
  3. Spill the dough out onto a workspace and begin to knead together, adding whole wheat flour as needed if the dough becomes too sticky to work with. Continue to knead until the dough becomes soft and springy. Form the dough into a ball.
  4. Oil a clean bowl, place the ball of dough in the bowl and cover with plastic. Place the bowl in a warm place of your kitchen to allow the dough to rise to double its size, about two hours. If it’s a cold day, I place the bowl in my microwave oven with a cup of very hot water to allow it to rise, draft-free.
  5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with a baking stone on a rack placed in the middle of the oven.
  6. Punch down the dough and divide it into eight equal pieces. I do this by weighing the total, and then dividing it by eight. Roll each piece into a ball, and flatten into a disk with your hand. Cover with plastic and let rest for 20 minutes.
  7. Roll out each piece to a pita round 7 – 8 inches in diameter, using additional flour as needed to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the workspace surface. Make sure to roll the rolling pin over the edges of the dough to seal. Cover with plastic, and let the disks rest for another 10 minutes before baking.
  8. Turn a baking sheet upside down and line with a piece of parchment paper. Place as many disks on the parchment paper as will fit directly on the baking stone. All surfaces of the dough must be in contact with the baking stone, and not drape over the side. Try to avoid overlapping the pita disks.
  9. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the disks dramatically balloon. Remove and allow to cool. If you wait until the bread has browned, you will have a large, thick, crispy cracker instead of a soft pita round.
  10. When the pitas are deflated, stack and serve slightly warm, or slice in half exposing the pockets. Stuff with filling such as scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, or meatballs.
  11. Pita bread rounds can be stored in ziplock bags in the refrigerator for one week.
Powered by Recipage

 

Pin It
Share/Bookmark

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

20 Responses to “Easy Whole-Wheat Pita Bread” Subscribe

  1. apuginthekitchen December 4, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    I have never made pita bread but it’s definitely on the list of breads that i need to make. Those look wonderful and it really is kind of miraculous how those pockets are created. Great recipe!
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies-Day 3 Of 7 Days Of Holiday CookiesMy Profile

  2. Erika December 4, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    Ooh I was really craving some pita bread the other day but was short on time so I whipped up some flatbreads with just self-rising flour and some greek yogurt. When I have time, though, I’d love to try these! I want to see these drama queens in action!!
    Erika recently posted..Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake + Meeting Deb of Smitten KitchenMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian December 4, 2012 at 8:57 am #

      It’s always so magical to me to watch them balloon up. The first time I made these, I was so enthralled with it all, I left them in too long and they got crispy and never deflated at all. Lesson learned :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Easy Whole-Wheat Pita BreadMy Profile

  3. Choc Chip Uru December 4, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Freshly made pita bread certainly beats store bought :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Guest Post #2: Raspberry Nutella MarshmallowsMy Profile

  4. TasteFood December 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I’ve never tried to make my own pita bread, but I am game to try. Thanks for the recipe!
    TasteFood recently posted..Beef Stew with Cognac and Red WineMy Profile

  5. The Squishy Monster December 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Holy smokes…you weren’t kidding about the easy part…looks amazing!

  6. Cass @foodmyfriend December 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    Umm yum! These look awesome. You have out done yourself again!
    Cass @foodmyfriend recently posted..Freckle Short Breads and World Cookie DayMy Profile

  7. Julia | JuliasAlbum.com December 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    Pita bread is so good! I could eat just as a snack!
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com recently posted..Almond shortbread cookies with AmarettoMy Profile

  8. Terra December 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I love that you made pita bread, and thank you for the tips! The recipe does look fun to make, and your pita bread looks delicious! Hugs, Terra
    Terra recently posted..Homemade Salted CaramelsMy Profile

  9. Mary @ Fit and Fed December 11, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Nice! I have made my own pita bread multiple times. Sometimes there’s a better hole in the middle than other times- sometimes it seems like they puff up but I later have to help along the pocket aspect by cutting them open with a butter knife. I like your detailed tips, I’ll keep them in mind next time I make pita, thanks!
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Chocolate Porter CakeMy Profile

  10. Julia December 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    This would perfectly with the hummus I just made! I have not made my own pita bread but I need to try!! I love that it is whole wheat too. Pinning this for later.

  11. Lilly Sue April 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Yum! I love the simplicity. I am going to have to try this!
    Lilly Sue recently posted..Monday MunchiesMy Profile

  12. Michele June 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    To get the flavor of the browned pitas and to keep the pita chewy instead of cracker-like, toss them from the oven immediately into a paper bag. Remove them after they cool and they retain the perfect chew / softness.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

DIY

Garlic Olive Oil

how make garlic oil for your pantry, The Wimpy Vegetarian

Flavored olive oils are fun and so easy to make. But there’s good reason to take precautions. There is risk of botulism in making some types, and this seems to be particularly true of garlic oil as it has a low pH and harbors moisture. […]

Pin It

Roasted Tomato Hummus : #SundaySupper Super Eats For Game Day

If you follow this blog, you know I’m a list person. Have you ever had something on your to-do list you keep postponing? Not something like ‘clean the bathroom grout’ – that’s in an entirely different category. I mean something you actually want to do. You’re […]

Pin It

Stevia Extract

how to make stevia extract

About a month ago I posted about making stevia powder from a couple of stevia plants I nurtured all summer. Some folks commented that the powder can have an aftertaste, and encouraged me to make extract. It took me a little while, but I finally […]

Pin It

Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce

how to make homemade roasted tomato sauce

One of things I think about when all the heirlooms show up at the market is making homemade tomato sauce. I don’t eat beef much more than once or twice a year, but I grew up loving a tomato chunky, meaty sauce for pasta. I’ve […]

Pin It