You know when you move to a new town and you can’t find your favorite foods…well lately that has been the source of my frustration. I have certain meals that I like to prepare but am having a heck of time trying to find ingredients. I use to have access to this fantastic fancy grocery store, they had everything a cook could ask for. They had a wonderful bakery that would put out so many varieties of bread, I was in heaven. 🙂 Fresh baked pita bread is a favorite of mine. I’ve tried some store brands but I just can’t get pass the smell of these things. So, began my quest to make my own tasty, soft pita bread. I experimented different flours, yeast amounts and rolling techniques and now have one that is pretty darn good.
The first pitas I made came out with a large pocket, but I wanted a pocket less soft bread. I also white flour and found the flavor to be a little lacking. First, figure out how to not get a pocket and second add flavor. I realized that just rolling the bread out allowed the pocket to form. Next batch, I used less yeast and then formed the dough into balls and pressed them into shape with my fingers. I then gave a finishing “roll over” to make sure thickness was uniform. This technique gave me the flat pocket-less pita bread I was looking for.
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg instant yeast
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients, stir to combine. Add the olive oil and warm water to the dry ingredients. Use a spoon mix all the ingredients to form the dough. If some of the flour isn’t getting combined add another tablespoon of water to bottom of bowl. Dough will bind together.
Once dough is combined pour out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, adding flour a little ( 1 Tbsp) at a time to eliminate the stickiness. If your hands are sticking to dough continue to add more flour. Continue to knead well until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Coat a bowl with a little olive oil (1 tsp) and place dough into bowl. Roll dough around bowl to coat it with some oil. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size. (With temps a little cold outside, I proofed in oven for 1 hr)
Place a baking stone into middle of oven and heat oven to 450 degrees. Dough will rise during baking so make sure racks aren’t too close together.
Once dough has double in size, punch down. Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and reshape dough into ball. Divide dough in half. Gently stretch out dough to form 2 log shaped pieces and then divide each into 5 equal pieces – for a total of 10. Roll each piece into a ball and let rest, covered for about 10 minutes.
Keep unused dough covered and shape one ball at a time. To shape, press fingers from center outward to stretch and form a circle. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to gently roll out to desired thickness. The dough will thicken when baked so I rolled pretty thin (1/8th inch). I prepared two at a time so dough would not dry out.
Place rolled dough onto hot stone. Let bake for 2-3 minutes then flip over and allow to bake another 2-3 minutes. Bread may puff up and will only brown slightly. Remove warm bread and keep covered.
Continue same procedure with remaining dough. Shape next pair of breads while other bread is baking.
I found these pita breads to be the perfect balance of flavor and texture. They are soft and foldable without breaking. 🙂 I love these for wrapping grilled vegetables. My favorite is grilled chicken wrapped in a warm pita bread. I’m always looking for different combinations. What do you like to eat with pita bread?
Hope you enjoy!