So it seems I’m really getting into bread making lately. Not such a great new hobby in the summer – the temperature of my kitchen is stifling! I think I’ll have to change my experimentation to frozen desserts. Oh well, eating this delicious Whole Wheat Pita Bread makes it all worthwhile. This is definitely not my first time making pita bread. I have made it many times before, both in the oven and on a hot griddle. BUT: this is the first time I have ever gotten successful pockets to form. Now my pitas can be used for dipping and for sandwiches! I love a good multi-purpose food.
Making these pitas start out just like making any other bread. Mix the dry ingredients together in a stand mixer while the yeast proofs in warm water. Then slowly add in the wet ingredients while the mixer runs on low with a dough hook. Knead the dough until smooth, then let it rise for a couple of hours.
Because there is less yeast than with a standard bread dough, the dough won’t rise quite as much.
Here’s where you change it up. Once the dough has risen, form it into a “snake” or rope to make it easier to cut into pieces, just like you were making tortillas. Only this time we’re going for 8 pieces.
Roll those pieces into a 1/4″ circle (no thinner, or they won’t get a pocket when you bake them), then cover them with a clean, dry towel and wait again, this time only for 30 minutes. They’ll rise slightly again. While you’re waiting, make sure you turn on the oven to 500°F. I really wanted to use my outdoor grill, and I tried, but I couldn’t get it hot enough. Perhaps I was just being impatient. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Then comes time to put the pitas in the oven. This is done on a cooling rack, or if you don’t have one, straight onto the oven racks. This is my favorite part: after the dough has been in the oven for a few minutes, it will start to puff up. But not like, just slightly rise. It will actually start to blow up like a balloon – all by itself!! Make sure you park face in front of the oven window to watch. It’s totally awesome! Once it’s fully blown up, and the top just starts to brown, pull them out. The process only takes 4 or 5 minutes. Then cover the pitas with a damp towel (use the same one you used to cover the dough with to save on laundry) until they get soft.
You can either cut these into wedges and serve with dip, like hummus or muhammara or you can cut a slit along the edge and stuff it with sandwich fixin’s. It’s a also great way to serve Greek Style Chickpea salad.
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
- 1 1/8 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- Dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top of the sugar water mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes to proof. Meanwhile, combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Stir yeast into water and add vegetable oil. Turn mixer on to low speed and slowly pour in water/yeast mixer. Increase speed to medium low and knead dough until smooth. Form dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise for about 2 hours.
- Punch dough down and form into a rope. Cut rope into 8 equal pieces (see note). Roll each piece into a circle that is approximately 1/4" thick. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 500°F. Place 2-3 pitas on a wire cooling rack, and place rack directly into oven. Bake for about 5 minutes until pitas become very puffy and just begin to brown on the top. Remove from oven and cover with a clean, damp dish towel until soft. Repeat with remaining pitas.
- To serve, cut a slit into an edge with a sharp knife or cut in half to make a sandwich. Can also be cut into wedges to serve with dip. Store in a sealed bag at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the freezer for around a month.