Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread

by Gavan on July 7, 2009

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Chips

Photo compliments of livewell360.com

As hoped our friends, Sheila and Ryan from LiveWell360, have been kind enough to share their secret homemade pita recipe with us! They knocked our socks off showing up to our BBQ with these in hand. Believe it or not, when I was working for some catering co’s years ago one of my positions was as a baker. One of the key attributes of a baker is patience. Baking, unlike cooking, is more of a science so when I saw that Ryan had made these pitas I was impressed. You really can’t rush this process as you can see by the duration it takes to make these from scratch. It takes a lot of precision and time but if you’re willing to go the extra mile and do it, you’ll love the result. Thanks to Ryan for getting in there and seeing it through and to Sheila for (by her own admission) being chief pita flipper!

WHOLE WHEAT PITA BREAD RECIPE

Prep time – 45 mins
Inactive Prep Time – 13 hours
Cook time – 45 mins

•    1 tsp dry active yeast (not 1 package, 1 tsp, I almost made that mistake)
•    2.5 cups of warm (80 – 90 degree) water
•    5 – 6.5 cups of 100% whole wheat flour
•    1 tbsp salt
•    1 tbsp olive oil

This recipe certainly takes some time. But, if your patience can handle the wait, I guarantee that you will love these pitas. Especially when you get to munch on a pita that is still warm from the griddle!

Using a wooden spoon or silicon spatula stir the yeast and water together in a large bowl. Continue stirring in the same direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise, you pick!) while adding 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup at a time. After you have added 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour continue to stir (in the same direction) until the mixture has no lumps. You want this to be smooth and the consistency of pancake batter. This is called the sponge. After your sponge is smooth, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter for 8 hours. Yes, 8 all hours, it will let the yeast really do its job and give the pitas a fuller flavor in the end.

After the 8 hours is up, uncover the sponge and sprinkle it with the salt. Next stir (same direction as before) in the olive oil, the oil will not mix in but your job here is to distribute it evenly. Now add the remaining 2.5 – 3.5 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup at a time. The actual amount will vary, you might need all 3.5 cups you might not, the dough will let you know. When the dough is tough to mix by hand and starts to pull away from the bowl you are done. Flour the counter top (after cleaning it) and then turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Begin kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and does not stick to your hands, around 8-10 minutes. The dough may not get completely smooth like it would with white flour, that’s OK. After your kneading time is up, wash and dry your bowl and pour a little (about 1 – 1.5 tsp) of olive oil into the bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough to coat it in the oil. Now cover the dough with a plastic wrap and let rise on the counter top for 2-3 hours. Alternatively you can let it rise in the fridge overnight (yes it will rise).

After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and cut it in half. Place one half back into the bowl and cover it back up. Take the other half and cut into 8 equal pieces. Now take those pieces and roll them into tight little balls. Flour your clean counter top and take one of the balls and roll it out with a rolling pin to rough 7″-9″ in diameter and less than .25″ thick, keeping the remaining dough balls covered under a towel. If you have room on your counter top, roll all of the dough balls out and cover them, but do not stack them. If you do not have room roll them out one at a time as you cook them.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Photo compliments of livewell360.com

Preheat a griddle, cast-iron pan, or even your BBQ grill. When your cooking griddle, pan or grill is thoroughly heated, place 1 pita at time on the cooking surface. Allow it to bake for 15-20 seconds (until bubbles begin to form), then flip it over and cook for the other side for two minutes and flip it again, back to the original side. Let it cook until it balloons up as fully as it can (about 2 minutes) and then remove to a cooling rack. Repeat this process until all of your pitas are cooked and ready to eat.

These pitas are awesome fresh off the griddle with some hummus or served up as Chicken Gyro. You can also take the fresh pitas and make some nice pita chips.

Preheat your oven to 450°F with your baking sheet it in. Lightly oil both side of the pita with olive oil cut into wedges, sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and bake for roughly 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. For a Mediterranean spin use some Zatar seasoning, look for it at your local Middle Eastern grocer. Or, you could go with some Parmesan and garlic, salt and pepper, get creative the list is endless.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Photo compliments of livewell360.com

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila | Live Well 360° July 7, 2009 at 5:19 pm

The pitas were even better in person than they look in the pic. The chips were crisp and the perfect combo of salt and spice, and the pita bread was soft and so fresh tasting. I owe this one to Ryan because it was his idea and dedication to the craft that made these puppies come to fruition.

Lucia July 8, 2009 at 4:24 am

Thank you for this recipe!

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