Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Whole Wheat Pita Breads

I know, I know..you are thinking "why on earth would you make pita when you can buy perfectly acceptable pitas in those bags at the grocery store". OK, true, you can. But then, when someone asks you "What did you do today?" you would not be able to answer: "I made pita from scratch, you?"
See? It has a nice ring to it, right?!

Don't you ever just want to do something so you can say you did? For some this sense of accomplishment might come from knitting a blanket, changing the oil in your car (although why would ANYONE want to do that..getting under your car, full of grease..but I digress..), bike thru Europe..you get the idea. My "1000 things to do before I die" list probably has 934 related to food.

I have such a long list of things I want to attempt in the kitchen. Like this or this or this one too. Oh ya, and the best meal I ever had in a restaurant in my life - this one (Ahh..one day!)

But until then, I'll stick with some amateur attempts - and those usually involve yeast. For me, there is just something magical and well..mystical about using yeast. It's totally out of my comfort zone, so many things can go wrong and must be handled with kid gloves. I have thrown out my share of bread starters because I was too lazy to add liquid at just the right temperature or because I just flat out didn't follow directions. I love the idea of homemade baked bread but its the "bread" part that intimidates me. Little, unassuming pita breads couldn't be that difficult. And turns out, they weren't..

Worth the effort- Oh yea. Warm, soft and just chewy enough. They don't even resemble store bought pitas. The best part was watching them puff up in the oven- a real crowd pleaser. Well, as long as your crowd is 6 years old (like mine was).

So- take a chance, try something new- make some pita breads.

From Cooking Light Mag:

Makes 8 servings (serving size: 1 pita)


  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 10 ounce bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 4.75 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup), divided
  • 2 tablespoons 2% Greek-style yogurt (such as Fage)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil cooking spray

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

Add bread flour, 3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) whole-wheat flour, yogurt, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining whole-wheat flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

2. Position the oven rack on the lowest shelf.

3. Preheat the oven to 500°.

4. Divide dough into 8 portions. Working with one portion at a time, gently roll each portion into a 5 1/2-inch circle. Place 4 dough circles on each of 2 baking sheets heavily coated with cooking spray. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, at 500° for 8 minutes or until puffed and browned. Cool on a wire rack.