There is no good reason to suffer through chewing tough store-bought pita bread when making it yourself is this good and this easy. Try this recipe and see what you’ve been missing!
YIELD: 6 Pitas
1¼ cups (10 oz by WT) filtered warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
(I like Fleishman’s brand. Always check the expiration date before purchasing yeast.)
1 cup (4 1/2 oz by WT) organic whole wheat bread flour
2 cups (9 oz by WT) organic unbleached bread flour, plus more for kneading and rolling dough
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional – in fact, I no longer add this to the recipe)
Note: It is always better to weigh ingredients rather than use volume measurements. Depending on how densely packed your flour is, you can come up with measurements that are not very reliable. Even measuring cups can vary slightly, so it is best to weigh everything if you can, even water. Since publishing this video, I’ve also gotten into the habit of weighing my dough then dividing it by how many pitas I plan to make. This will make each pita exactly the same size, providing a nice uniform presentation.
Add warm water to a clean bowl. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Sprinkle yeast over the top of the sugar water and lightly stir so that all the particles are wet. Don’t over-stir. It should become frothy within 3-10 minutes. If it doesn’t, the yeast is bad. Throw out your mixture and begin anew with fresh yeast.
Once the mixture is frothy, stir in salt. Next stir in the whole wheat flour and the bread flour. With a large wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk, stir until all ingredients are combined.
Turn out onto a lightly floured bread board or countertop and knead for 5 minutes, or until dough is somewhat elastic. It should be tacky but not sticky, nor should it be dry.
Transfer to a clean bowl with one teaspoon olive oil (optional). Roll the dough in the olive oil so that every surface is lightly coated. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about thirty minutes.
While the dough is rising, place a large pizza stone or clay baking stone into a cool oven. Preheat to 450º. A large clay stone is wonderful for making flat breads because your oven behaves more like a hot, clay tandoori oven such as you might find in good Indian restaurants. If you don’t have a baking stone, you can use a cookie sheet in the same way.
When the oven is preheated, deflate the dough and divide into six pieces. Roll each of them into a ball, dusting with a little flour to prevent sticking.
Take one of the balls and flatten it out on a floured surface. Roll to create a six-inch to eight-inch disk between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch. Repeat with remaining dough balls. Cover with a clean cloth or plastic wrap until ready to use to prevent drying out.
Transfer one of the disks to your open palm. Open the oven and slap it onto the baking stone or cookie sheet taking care NOT to touch the stone or any hot surface in the oven. Let it sit for a few seconds before moving it toward the rear of the stone with a spatula.
The number you can do at one time will be entirely dependent on how large your baking stone is. I have a large round stone which will allow me to prepare three or four at a time. Since this recipe makes six pitas, it is convenient to prepare three at a time.
The bread will puff up into balloon shapes. (Occasionally one will burst before completing the baking process or will not rise at all. This is normal and to be expected. They will taste just as good as the ones that rise and will perform equally well as sandwich pockets, pita wedges, or for any purpose requiring pita bread.)
Cook for about 4 minutes, then remove with tongs or with a large spatula. Don’t wait for the pitas to brown because they will become too crisp.
Cool on a wire rack while you make the remaining pitas. These will make perfect pockets for sandwiches or to use as flatbread for dips and appetizers.
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For smaller jobs, you can’t beat this little rolling pin. The advantage of it to the larger French pin is that you can work in smaller spaces with it. If you are rolling out six pita breads on one board, this will prevent you from rolling over the bread dough you have already completed or are still waiting to be rolled. They are very useful for teaching children how to roll dough.
This is an inexpensive dough/bowl scraper. It is more useful for getting wet doughs out of bowls than it is for scraping dough. It fits well in your hand and is a very useful product.
This is another type of bowl scraper. It is more flexible than the Ateco, but it doesn’t cut dough. I use them both equally.
I absolutely love my Danish Dough Whisk. It makes working with thick batters a pleasure when a balloon whisk simply cannot handle the task. It will allow you to work with dough right up to the point that you are ready to begin kneading. As you’ll see me mentioning in every video in which I must work with a viscous batter or dough, I don’t know how I ever lived without my Danish Dough Whisk. I highly recommend this product. I have several of them in both sizes, small and large, and have given them as gifts to the delight of my baker friends.