Do you ever get so rusty that you don’t know where to start? Although I’ve been cooking/ trying new recipes consistently for the past few weeks, it has been quite a while since I have started the process with the intentions of photographing my work and writing up a blog post. I have this bad habit of wanting things to be perfect before sending them out for review, which usually results in me holding onto things indefinitely. Take this fabulous whole wheat pita bread recipe for example. I have made this bread at least a dozen times over the past year. Just recently, we had some friends over for dinner. Scott requested these Moroccan chicken kabobs, so I made a batch of my usual pita bread to go with it. Our lovely friend Shannon brought over those gorgeous blooms that you see in the background, which gave me the little push I needed to jump back into blogging. Thanks, Shannon!
Although this whole wheat pita has the ability to make its store-bought counterpart seem akin to a circle of cardboard, the number one selling point for me is that it comes out perfectly from the freezer every single time—(just pull a piece out and microwave for about 30 seconds until soft and warm). I don’t know about you, but I can’t usually pull off fresh pita bread on a weeknight without that little trick! We have tried this recipe with all purpose (AP) flour, half white whole wheat and half AP, but our favorite by far is the white whole wheat version. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
- 1½ cups bread flour, divided
- 1½ cups white whole wheat flour, divided
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cornmeal, for sprinkling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the warm water. Stir gently to blend. Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook. Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt. Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
- Place an oven rack in the middle position. Place a baking/ pizza stone in the oven* and preheat to 500˚ F. (The stone needs to heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking the bread).
- Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, form dough into a large ball and divide into 8 equal pieces.** Form each of the 8 pieces of dough into a ball. Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface (e.g. parchment paper) lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.***
- Transfer 3 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking stone. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. At this point, pitas can be frozen in a ziplock bag (indefinitely) or stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- * Pitas can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks.
- ** I like to use my kitchen scale to ensure equally sized pita rounds, but you can eyeball it pretty easily too.
- ***The pitas will not rise or become more puffy in the oven, so let them rest until you are happy with the texture. What you see is what you get!