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Whole Wheat Pita

September 21, 2010

I spent the better part of a day tempting the men in my life with this pita bread recipe.

The first round of temptation involved the Papavore’s witnessing the process of making these lovely breads one Sunday morning.  Mix stuff up, go for a jog, knead stuff around, take a shower, heat the kitchen to high-hee-heaven on a 95 degree Southern day…

Not such a bad experience, actually, if he’d been allowed to eat the pita.

The second round of temptation occurred over the internet via Facebook.  It seems as if this temporary long-distance living arrangement is making the dear Omnivore more appreciative of my cooking than I ever imagined.

I, of course, wish I could have shared the pita with my husband.  That was just not possible.  I also wish I could have shared the breads with my dad; they were, however, earmarked for a bridal shower, so he wasn’t one of the taste testers.

Those who were lucky enough spoke so highly of this recipe.  The flavor was wonderful and who knew pita bread was so soft?  Many people even asked if this recipe could be made with whole wheat flour.  Imagine their surprise when I told them it was 100% whole wheat.  The dough is easy to work with and all 8 pita rounds puffed perfectly in my oven.  I haven’t yet tried baking these stovetop for pocketless pitas (which I actually prefer), thought I suspect this recipe is perfect for that style as well.

One Year Ago: Dinner Spanakopita 

Whole Wheat Pita (based off this Gourmet recipe)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115°F)
3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp vital wheat gluten (optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk 1/2 cup flour into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, vital wheat gluten, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with 2 clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner. Serve warm.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2010 12:54 pm

    These are one of the things that I have been meaning to try – thanks for the posting the recipe, it reminded me again.

  2. September 24, 2010 12:35 pm

    Wow! That is a serious process! They look and sound wooonderful! I’m saving the recipe for a day I’m full of time and ambition! 😉

    • brannyboilsover permalink*
      September 24, 2010 6:19 pm

      No need to set aside a full day, Nicole. The hands-on time is really not very much. I hope you conquer this recipe 🙂

  3. September 26, 2010 1:04 pm

    Yay, now I know what to make first with my whole wheat pastry flour 🙂 Just saved the recipe – they look so perfect!

  4. jen permalink
    October 17, 2010 8:56 am

    I’ve made these twice now & they’re great! The first time I did 2 minutes on one side & 1 minute on the other. They were a little bit crisp in areas & not very soft. Last night I made them again and only did 1 minute + a few seconds on each side and they were WONDERFUL. Very soft and delicious. Great recipe Branny 🙂 I love it when whole wheat recipes are actually 100% whole wheat instead of 50-50 with white flour.

    • brannyboilsover permalink*
      October 17, 2010 9:09 am

      Thanks for the positive review! I guess that ovens do vary and when cooking for a short period of time as in this recipe, it is important to figure out those nuances. Kudos to you for not giving up on the recipe.

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