In a quest to eliminate processed foods from our diet, I found myself baking batches upon batches of whole wheat bread to keep the freezer stocked and adding an extra hour to taco or quesadilla night because I had to make the whole wheat tortillas first (and they aren’t as enjoyable when they’re not fresh off the griddle).
This pita recipe is an AWESOME happy medium. It’s so versatile that it can be used for sandwiches or breakfast wraps, it’s two ply nature means it can be left thick, stuffed or separated to make for a thinner, tortilla like wrap. They make great personal pizzas and cut into pieces, they even bake or fry up into the perfect chip. If you already know exactly what your pitas will be used for, you can tailor their flavor with garlic and herbs and I highly recommend doing so.
1 1/4 cup of warm water
2 teaspoons of instant yeast
3 1/4 cups of white wheat flour
2 teaspoons of sea salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
My better half is not a huge fan of the flavor of wheat (I’m convinced this will change but for now, I deal and try to accommodate). King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour behaves much like all purpose flour without all the nasty additives and so far, has been a crowd pleaser. In order to simulate the brick ovens traditionally used to cook pitas in the mediterranean and middle east, your oven rack must be moved to the lowest setting with a baking stone or cast iron pan, preheated to 475F for at least an hour before you begin baking.
I always let the yeast and warm water chill out in the bowl for a few minutes, until it starts to get a little foamy, then I dump the rest of the ingredients in. You’re going to need a stand mixer. Yes, you technically can do this by hand and if you do, I’d LOVE to hear about it. Using the paddle, mix the ingredients (speed 2) until all the flour is moist and then switch to the hook.
Mix with the hook on speed 4 until the dough forms a nice soft ball. It should have the consistency of fresh, hand-warmed ball of Play-Doh. Speed 4 will seem excessive, and your mixer might threaten to take off in to space, but it’s necessary. (My main reason for not wishing to try this without a stand mixer) I do stop it a few times and smash the dough down into the bottom of the bowl when it starts to seem like the hook is chasing the ball around the bowl, but it only takes about 10 minutes to reach the proper consistency. Next, oil a large bowl and turn your dough ball over once in the oiled bowl to completely coat it with the oil, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rise. For oiling, I use a non aerosol olive oil mister because it eliminates the preservatives and propellants that store bought cooking sprays contain.
You can leave the dough to rise overnight if you’re preparing it ahead of time but it should be ready to work with after about an hour and a half. Separate it into 8 equal pieces. If you’re super serious, you can get fancy things like a dough cutter and a silicone mat. I LOVE my awesome kitchen gear, but it’s totally not necessary and a lightly floured countertop or cutting board will work just as well. This is usually when I arrange the oven shelves and turn it on to preheat.
Roll each piece into a ball and then lightly flatten them into thick discs. Keep the pieces you’re not working with covered with a damp cloth to help retain their moisture. The pitas will not puff properly in the oven if they are too dry. Once all the pieces are rolled and flattened, cover them with an oiled piece of plastic wrap and let them rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes (I usually move onto some other task and get back to them in about 25-30 minutes).
If you left your discs of dough rising to go start some hummus, baba ganoush, or olive salad to enjoy with your fresh pita, the 20 minutes will be over in no time. Take the discs out one by one and roll them out with a rolling pin to about a quarter inch thickness. I usually do two batches at a time and as I finish each one, I stack them on top of one another under the damp cloth. When they are all done, you will need to remove several and lay them out to rest, uncovered for an additional 10 minutes before you can start baking them. As long as you have 5 or more out from under the cloth and resting, you can cycle through them, replacing them as you put them in the oven and all of the uncooked pitas should get enough time to rest.
Quickly and carefully lay them flat on the ungreased baking stone or cast iron cookware and close the oven. In about 2-3 minutes, they should be fully puffed and ready to flip. Turn them over with a spatula and bake for about a minute longer. Remove from the oven and continue the process until they’ve all fluffed to the perfect pita goodness that they are. These pitas freeze well and if you plan to use them or a portion of them for personal pizzas or any warm dish that require them to be reheated, I recommend slightly undercooking them so that they are still moist and pliable when you incorporate them into future recipes.
Summary: Great, healthy bread alternative. Use for wraps, pizzas, sandwiches and more!
- 1 1/4 cup of warm water
- 2 teaspoons of instant yeast
- 3 1/4 cups of white wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Mix yeast and warm water in bowl, let stand until foamy
- Add remaining ingredients
- Mix with paddle attachment on speed two until moistened
- Switch to dough hook
- Mix on speed 4 until soft (about 10 minutes)
- Turn over once in oiled bowl
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in fridge for at least 90 minutes
- Separate into 8 equal pieces
- Move baking rack to lowest setting and place stone or cast iron on the rack
- Preheat oven to 475F
- Roll each piece into a ball and flatten into little discs
- Keep pieces you’re not working with covered with a damp cloth
- Cover discs with oiled plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes
- Roll them out with a rolling pin to about a quarter inch thickness
- Take several out from under the damp cloth to rest uncovered for about 10 minutes before baking
- Place dough directly on baking stone or cast iron and let rise until fully puffed (about 2 minutes)
- Flip and allow to cook for an additional minute
Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 45 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegan
Diet tags: Low calorie
Number of servings (yield): 8
My rating 5 stars: ★★★★★ 1 review(s)