Every once in a while I become inspired to bake something that takes a little more time than the usual cookies, muffins, or bar desserts. This time, it was these whole wheat pitas that called me to devote an entire nap time plus to the kitchen (the pitas are actually really easy to make, and there was a good deal of inactive time, but you have to be available to do the next step after each rise and rest of the dough). While I am not able to spend this much time baking on a regular basis, I am glad that I tried this recipe because these pitas are delicious!
Whole wheat pitas were the second batch of homemade pitas that I’ve made. I recently made regular pitas, and now that I’ve tried the whole wheat I don’t think I’d make the plain ones again. We preferred the whole wheat pitas because of their more complex, nutty flavor. Better flavor and healthier too- whole wheat pitas win in my book!
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Makes 8 pitas
- 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast (I used one package and it worked just fine)
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F), divided
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer (if you do not have a stand mixer, you can mix and knead the pitas by hand), combine the yeast, honey and 1/2 cup of the water. Stir gently to blend. Whisk 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 1/4 cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook. Add in the remaining 3/4 cup of warm water, 1 1/4 cups bread flour, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
- Place an oven rack in the middle position. Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F. Alternatively, you can bake the pitas directly on the oven racks.
- Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch or roll into a 6 1/2-7 inch circle. (If you have trouble stretching the dough, let it rest covered with a damp towel for about 15 minutes and then try again.) Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
- Transfer 4 pitas, one at a time, onto the baking surface. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet, May 2003.