You deserve to feel like a rock star in the kitchen. Whether you cook occasionally or every day, simple snacks or elaborate smorgasbords, you are in there making good, real food, and for that, you deserve foolproof recipes that make you dance around like the rock star you are. These pitas will do just exactly that.
If you’ve never made pita, you might be skeptical. How is this going to work!? How do you conjure fluffy pockets out of mere flour and yeast? But work it does, and once you start making pita this way, you’ll never want to go back.
In my book, some things are fun to DIY just to try it, or for a treat. And then there are times like this pita situation, where the chasm between DIY and store-bought is so deep, so engulfing, so sad and hopeless for the comparatively dry, stiff store-bought variety, that you won’t even want to bother with it, knowing how accessible something so very much better can be. Pillowy soft, but sturdy enough to hold your gyro, shawarma, falafel, etc., with an honest-to-goodness pocket just begging to be sliced open and crammed full of deliciousness.
Added to that, pitas are honestly quite fun to make. The dough takes several rises but surprisingly little active time, so it’s great for a weekend or any day you’ll be mostly home, maybe just popping out for some errands during the second, longer rise.
And it is incredibly rewarding and mesmerizing to see the pitas poof up in the oven and form the signature pocket. I guarantee you will feel a surge of well-deserved pride!
Rock star status? Conferred.
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Yield 8 pitas
- 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F), divided
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, divided
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- cornmeal, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup water, stirring gently to blend. Whisk in 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup bread flour until mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside until bubbly and approximately doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
- Uncover the bowl and add the remaining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups bread flour, olive oil, and salt. Using the dough hook, knead mixture on low speed until it is smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
- Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down, and divide into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Working one at a time, flatten each ball into a disk, and, using a rolling pin, press into a circle about 7 inches in diameter. Transfer the shaped pitas to a piece of parchment paper lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.
- Once all the pitas have been shaped, cover them loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for about 30 minutes, until they are slightly puffy. Meanwhile, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.
- When ready to bake, transfer 1 or 2 pitas at a time onto the baking stone. Bake for 2 minutes, until they are puffed and lightly golden. Use tongs to flip each pita over and bake for 1 additional minute. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, and store in an airtight container.
The dough can also be made by hand, just be prepared to use a little elbow grease to knead it together!
If you don’t have a baking or pizza stone, these can be baked directly on your oven rack. But consider putting one on your wish list, because, well, pizza! And recipes like this mean you’ll find plenty of use for it beyond pizza night.