Whole Wheat Pita Bread

There are so many things that once I make them at home, I can never go back to store-bought: pizza dough (more on that soon), salsa, ice cream, and definitely pita bread.  Homemade pita is so soft and flavorful it makes its store-bought counterpart seem like a circle of cardboard.  Since my favorite dinner is chicken gyros, the pita are an integral part of the meal.  Most recently I decided to try this version of wheat pita bread for comparison to my old favorite, as an attempt to get a few more whole grains into my diet.  Guess what?  These pita are every bit as good as the old version but they are a bit healthier, they have a fabulous puffy texture, and the dough was even easier to work with.  Win-win-win!  (The Office, anyone?)  It seems these will become my new go-to pita because really, why not?

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
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Ingredients:
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer*, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the 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 stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece 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 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 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface.  (Note: These can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks.  I use a pizza stone, but either method is fine.) 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.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

*As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can be mixed by hand.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Gourmet, May 2003

56 Responses

  1. ideal for dinner! yum!

    • just wondering annie if i can substitute the bread flour with all purpose or whole wheat flour

      • Try Googling for sub ratios as far as bread vs. AP flour. Don’t sub whole wheat though, you need a balance otherwise you will have a tough, dense result.

  2. These look amazing! They are calling out for some hummus!

  3. I’ve been meaning to try homemade pitas, but haven’t gotten around to it quite yet. Judging by your pic, I need to get moving on this ASAP!

  4. I love pitas!! These look great!!

  5. I know you’ve been around for awhile, but I just discovered you when I was looking up a recipe for Cherry Limeade Cupcakes. Haven’t tried anything yet because I’ve been so busy searching through your site! I’m in love with it!

    I love all things yeast, but had not thought to try pita bread before. I can’t wait to give it a try. I’m planning on making the cupcakes today along with the banana peanut butter granola, and maybe the cheddar dill scones.

    Thank you so much! I love food blogs! I just need more time in the day to bake everything I want to try.

  6. Gyros are so great, I love them. Pita bread looks delicious. You could make pita chips if you have too many leftovers!

  7. That looks perfect. I have never made my own, but gotta try.

  8. Pita bread is something I’ve been wanting to try making myself for a long time now, but have just never gotten around to it. I think I may finally give them a try with your recipe, it looks really easy!

  9. These look great! i’m definitely gonna try it !

  10. I’ve been wanting to try homemade pita bread since we love gyros so much and this will be the recipe to try it with. Thanks for posting it!

  11. You are such a great photographer! Your recipes are always amazing as well as your pictures! I have two questions for you – (1) Do you have any advice regarding photographing food? & (2) How would you freeze the pitas (in a freezer bag)?
    Thanks!

    • Melissa,
      Food photography advice – too complicated to answer in a quick reply. My best advice is just carefully study pictures you like, and figure out what it is about them that appeals to you. Then try to apply it in your own photos. Also, just practice, practice, practice! As for freezing the pitas, yeah, I’d just use a freezer bag.

  12. Those look PERFECT. I never thought of making my own WW pita. Thank you for the recipe and inspiration!

  13. I got to try these. My attempts with yeast and whole wheat flour have been disastrous so far. But I am not giving up yet!!! Your pita bread looks perfect. And I like your detailed step-by-step directions. Will try this very soon, thanks for sharing.

  14. WOW! Those look amazing! Your site has been my go to resource for everything lately!! Your food is amazing! I wish I had just a tiny bit of your talent 🙂

  15. These look delicious, I LOVE the fact that they are whole wheat.

  16. What beautiful pitas. How I would love one of these fresh out of the oven… heavenly!

  17. I make a lot of things from scratch simply because we live overseas and it’s impossible (or ÜBER-expensive) to get the comforts of home. I can’t wait to try your pita recipe! Thanks!

  18. Did you post a recipe for regular pitas awhile back? I think I got the recipe from you . . .

    Anyway, you are right. Once I made homemade pitas, the store bought just seem nasty. One question, how do you reheat them? They are smooth and pliable when they come out of the oven, but when I reheat them they tend to split.

    • Lisa,
      I did, you are correct! I don’t usually bother reheating pitas because I tend to eat them at room temperature anyway. I’m not sure what the best way to reheat is!

  19. a way to use up my ww flour, awesome. thanks for making it look so easy

  20. The timing of this post is eerie! Just last night I decided I would make tabbouleh next week, and resolved to hunt around for a whole wheat pita recipe. Now I don’t have to look! Thanks!

    PS: made your wheat hamburger buns yesterday. They turned out awesome!

  21. I made your white flour ones and I love them, and just was wishing for a whole wheat version. I use high gluten white flour and it makes a huge difference in the chewiness!! Any reason why you recommend the bread flour instead of high gluten?

    • Sue,
      As far as I know, bread flour is a high gluten flour so to me, the terms are synonymous. And, I always have bread flour on hand.

  22. Wow, those look so good. I love gyros, but have never made them at home. I’ll have to add them to my list and make these pitas!

  23. I’m in the same boat with homemade pita; I just can’t go back to store bought. It might be time to enter a 12-step program when you find you can’t live without homemade tortillas, though. Those things are true manna…but boy, are they labor intensive for such a simple product!

  24. Wow! These look so fluffy & wonderful—I’m amazed they’re whole-wheat! I’ll definitely be trying these out on the next bread making endeavor…

  25. Those look great! They may be my second try at pita breat. The first wasn’t so great.

  26. I have a bread machine..from your experience, could I use the same recipe?

    • Liesa,
      I don’t know anything about bread machines, sorry. It’s really easy to make it by hand though!

  27. Annie–

    Ohhhh, you are going to hate me. King Arthur makes this high gluten flour. Once you try it, you’ll never want to go back and it’s not cheap!!!!!

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/king-arthur-sir-lancelot-hi-gluten-flour-3-lb

    Let me know what you think!! Sue

    • Didn’t realize there was a difference. Doubtful I’ll try it though, my store carries just bread flour and I’ve been perfectly happy with that. Plus, that’s what all my recipes tend to call for.

  28. From the picture I presumed for a second this was a recipe for giant snicker-doodles! They do look wonderfully soft & fluffy, I can’t Wait to give this a go. Lately all I have felt like for weeknight dinners is homemade roasted pepper & garlic hummus with toasted wholewheat pittas. It would be so much better with lovely homemade pittas

  29. What a great blog! I just found it tonight. I never thought pita was so easy to make. For some reason I thought you needed a special pan or something to make them. I just went and bought 5 packages to freeze from my local arabic market. I am now wondering if I should use those up before I try my hand at making my own! I am afraid if I make yours, the ones I just bought will sit in my freezer for years to come!

  30. Annie, I don’t buy bread flour, I’m too cheap to buy ANOTHER flour. What would happen if I used all whole wheat or AP for the bread flour? I LOVE your regular pita recipe, have been using it forever along with your gyros recipe. Its a family favorite!

    • Hi Carrie,
      Nothing horrible will happen if you use all-purpose flour in place of bread flour, but results are always better with bread flour. It has a higher gluten content than regular flour, yielding a chewier result in bread dough (as it should be). I think bread flour is totally worth the extra cost.

  31. Doesn’t whole wheat flour have a higher gluten content? If I used all whole wheat would that be better than AP?

    • Carrie,
      Wheat flour may have a higher gluten content, I’m not sure. However, most wheat bread recipes call for a mixture of wheat and white flours. All wheat tends to produce a dense, less flavorful final product so it’s not really recommended.

  32. Interesting. Seems like a good excuse to buy bread flour.

  33. YEAH!! I just finished making these! They turned out great! The only thing I did was cook a few to long. (Trying to deal with two kids running around sometimes got me preoccupied.) But, they were still very tasty! Also, next time I am going to stretch them out a bit more. They turned out nice an fluffy!!! Thank you for a wonderful blog!!

  34. I made these yesterday. Super yummy! It wasn’t hard. Since they disappeared so quickly, is this a recipe I can double without making any changes? Also I had trouble stretching them. I would get them in shape and I would blink a few times and they would be smaller. Is this normal? I also lost one down between the oven racks. The rest I had to be extremely careful placing them on the rack.

  35. I just made these today and they turned out delicious! I also made the original hummus recipe that you posted, and let’s just say I am veerrrryyy full now! Thanks for sharing all of your great recipes and hard work – I can always trust that your recipes will turn out great!

  36. I made these today. By the time I tasted them, I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to like them since they were so much work. But darnit they were very light and tasty. I’m not sure how often I’ll make my own pitas, since it’s sort of an all afternoon or all morning affair, but maybe occasionally. It was very good. Looking forward to see how well they go with the chicken gyros for dinner tonight!

  37. I just made a test batch, and wow, they were good. So easy too! Now I’m dreaming of gyros, hummus, falafel, mmm…

  38. Annie I love your blog and all your recipes!!! I decided to make these today, but I have three small children at my feet whenever I bake so it can be hard to do labor intensive recipes! I decided to make them all but the last steps of course in my bread machine and it worked!! They were fantastic!!! thanks so much!

  39. Hi! First, I love your blog! I can’t wait to make more of the recipes here! I made these pitas yesterday and everything went fine – but I couldn’t get the dough to stretch to 6-7 inches…it would continually shrink back. I wonder if I did something wrong, or if you have a suggestion to fix this?

    I’m making your chicken gyros tonight – cannot wait!

    • Hi Chelsea,
      If you have trouble with the dough shrinking back, give it 10-15 minutes or so to relax before trying again. Also sometimes I find a rolling pin to be useful in rolling out pita because they need to be so thin.

      • Made these again (they are so addicting) and tried rolling the dough out to get it thinner. This provided much better results. Thanks for the tip!

  40. jason and i made your chicken gyros with whole wheat pita bread…so delicious. we actually doubled the pita bread recipe and made “pita pizzas” the second day. absolutely amazing.

  41. I just made these (I’d made them before using a different method) and am enjoying it fresh from the oven with some hummus and deli chicken and spinach. Yum! Thanks! I love the starter!

  42. I made these today (to go with your recipe for chicken gyros, which were great!) and this pita bread is SO good! It was pretty easy to make, the dough was very easy to work with, and they came out so soft and fluffy. I will definitely be making these again!!

  43. I made these a few days ago, and they were so good! But I had a minor mishap, I baked the pita directly on the oven rack, which caused large lines through the bread and made it so it didn’t rise enough to cut to create a sandwich. Do you have any advice or input on what went wrong? Also, I’ve always wondered how you make your pieces such a perfect size!? Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

    • Lydia, I’m not sure, I always bake mine on a baking stone. Maybe you could try that instead. I use a kitchen scale to be sure all my pieces are equal sizes before I shape the pita.

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