This whole wheat pita bread is soft, moist, light and has their trademark pockets.
Course: breakfasts, brunch
Cuisine: lebanese, world
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Servings: 10pita bread
Author: Dassana Amit
1teaspooninstant yeastor 1.5 teaspoon dry active yeast (for dry active yeast check the notes below on activating and proofing it)
1pinchraw sugaror white sugar
3 cups or 360 gramswhole wheat flour
2tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
Firstly take the instant yeast and sugar in a stand mixer bowl or in any bowl in which you will knead the dough. Pour 1.25 cups water and mix very well with a spoon.
Add 3 cups whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix everything with wooden spoon.
Then using the hook attachment of the stand mixer and begin to knead. Initially you will find the dough sticky, but continue to knead and you will see the extra water will be absorbed by the flour. Knead to a smooth and soft dough.
Rub or brush some water or olive oil all over the dough. Keep it in the same bowl covered loosely with a kitchen towel for 45 minutes or 1 hour until the dough has doubled in volume and size.
Assembling, shaping and rolling dough
Deflate the dough gently and knead lightly. Make into a log shape and cut equal portions from the dough. Keep these covered again for 10 minutes. Keep the dough balls covered all the time so that they don't dry out. You can even pinch portions from the dough and roll them into balls.
Meanwhile place a baking tray in the oven. Then preheat oven at 230 degrees celsius for 20 minutes.
Take each dough portion and shape into a ball. Keep it on the work surface and sprinkle some flour on it as well as on the dough ball. Roll evenly into a 5 or 6 inches round shape. You can also make them oval shaped if you want. Keep the bread a little thick while rolling.
Keep these rolled discs covered loosely for 10 minutes more.
Oven method to make pita bread
Carefully remove the tray with oven mittens. Sprinkle some flour and place the rolled discs on it. Use oven mittens when removing and placing the baking tray from the oven.
Using oven mittens, place the tray back in the oven. Bake at 230 degrees C for 7 to 10 minutes. If using a convection oven, then preheat as well as bake at 200 or 210 degrees celsius. Note that the baking time will vary from oven to oven.
The pita bread will nicely puff up in the oven. Once they are puffed up and have a pale golden color, remove the tray. With a spatula remove the pita bread and place on a wired rack.
Stovetop method to make pita bread
Heat a cast iron skillet or a frying pan on medium-high flame. Sprinkle some flour on the pan and it should get browned. This means that the pan is hot. Use a heavy pan so that the pita bread does not burnt from the bottom. Place the pita bread round on the pan or skillet.
Cover with lid for 1 to 2 minutes.
Turn over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more till the pita bread is done and has brown spots appearing on both sides. Roast all pita breads this way. Alternatively, you could also make them the way we make Indian Flatbread - Chapati (Phulka). After lightly cooking both sides, place them on the fire and see them puff. Cook both sides.
Stack pita bread and store them in a kitchen towel or bread box. Just slice the pita bread into two. You will see the pockets. Stuff the pockets with a filling of your choice and your pita sandwich is ready.
Pita Bread Dough: The dough needs to have the perfect amount of water in it. Less percentage of water will make the dough hard or denser in texture and the pita bread won't puff up. Depending on the quality and type of flour used, you can add less or more water. The dough has to be kneaded really well. It should be soft and smooth.
Kneading with hands: The pita bread dough can be easily kneaded with hands. Knead the dough very well for about 10 to 12 minutes.
Rolling the dough discs: If the dough is not rolled evenly, then the pita bread won’t puff. So there won’t be the pockets or you may have the pita bread puffing on some spots and remaining flat on others.
Oven Heating: The oven has to be very hot. Sometimes the oven isn’t actually reaching the temperature that it is set at. Then you will need to calibrate the oven. If the oven isn’t thoroughly preheated or hot enough then this cause the pita bread to stay flat and not puff.
Using dry active yeast: If you use dry active yeast then you need to activate it and proof it. If the activation and proofing is not done well, the dough won't leaven resulting in hard bread. While activating, the water has to be lukewarm and not hot or cool. Note for instant yeast, you don't need to proof or activate it and can use room temperature water
Scaling: You can easily halve or double the recipe.
Storing Pita Bread: Place them in a steel box or ziplock bags. Then you can either refrigerate or freeze the pita bread.
Reheating: To warm or reheat pita bread, heat a skillet or pan. Place the pita bread and cook it for 10 to 12 seconds on medium-heat till lightly hot on both sides.
Whole wheat flour: Replace with all purpose flour.
Water: Can be replaced with milk (dairy or vegan).
Instant yeast: You can use 2 teaspoons of dry active yeast and 1 tablespoon fresh yeast instead. Both these yeast will need to be activated in lukewarm water with sugar before adding to the flour.