Chewy Whole Grain Pita Bread Recipe
The Versatile Pocket Bread
Imagine a bread so versatile it can be used as a vehicle for dips or sliced in half and stuffed like a sandwich. It can be enjoyed fresh or toasted at breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between. Impossible, you say? This amazing bread is the lowly pita, also called pitta, pocket bread or flat bread.
A round flatbread that originated centuries ago in the Middle East and Egypt, it's naturally low in fat and sugar. Like other whole grain breads, pita is highly nutritious and is a great source of low-calorie energy.
Rolled out and baked in a very hot oven, steam causes pita to balloon up. Children will be spellbound by both making and eating this bread.
- If you own a stand mixer, let it do the work for you. Follow the manufacturer's suggestions and after the first rise is complete, proceed with step #6 of the "instructions" section below.
- If you own a bread maker, use the dough cycle. When the cycle is over, proceed with step #6 of the "instructions" section below.
- If using a hand mixer, be careful not to let it overheat. You may need to stop after a couple of minutes and let the mixer rest before proceeding.
- If you enjoy good old-fashioned bread making, knead the dough by hand.
How to Knead Dough
If using the hand mixer method, you will have to knead the bread for a few minutes.
- Generously sprinkle countertop or Silpat with flour and flour your hands.
- Push ball of dough away from you, then pull back toward your body, fold in half and rotate a quarter turn. Lastly, push away again with the heels of your hands. (See short video clip below.)
- Reserve the last half cup of flour to sprinkle on the surface as you knead, to prevent sticking. You may not need to incorporate all of the flour.
- Continue kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, or springs back from your touch.
- You can test if you've kneaded the dough enough by pushing two fingers into the dough. If the indentations remain, the dough is ready for rise.
Chewy Multi-Grain Pitas
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups multigrain or whole wheat flour
- 1 cup quick oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons white or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- cornmeal, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place baking sheet on bottom rack of oven while it heats up. Combine 1 cup white flour, 1 cup wheat flour, 1 cup of quick oats, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine ingredients. Reserve the rest of the flour.
- Add 2 cups of water and blend on high speed with a hand mixer for about 5 minutes.
- Add 1 more cup of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated.
- Place dough on floured surface and knead as explained above in the "tips" section, incorporating most or all of the remaining flour during the kneading process.
- When dough is smooth and elastic place in an oiled bowl, rubbing a little oil on the dough's top surface so it doesn't dry out. Cover bowl with a towel and set in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- Return dough to floured surface. Cut dough into 20 uniformly sized pieces.
- Roll each lump into a ball of dough and set aside. Using a rolling pin, roll four balls into a rounds of about 5-6 inches across and 1/4 inch thickness. Be careful not to handle the dough too much.
- Remove baking sheet from hot oven. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Slide four pitas on the baking sheet and place baking sheet on the bottom rack of hot oven.
- Bake for about 2 minutes. Pitas should puff up like balloons. Flip over and bake for another minute or two, or until golden brown and fragrant.
- Repeat steps 7-9 with the remaining pitas, until all have been baked.
- Keep pitas warm in a towel-lined basket. To reheat: warm on a hot griddle or skillet brushed with olive oil.
Pita bread can be stored for several days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.
|Serving size: One 6-inch pita|
|Calories from Fat||18|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 2 g||3%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 35 g||12%|
|Sugar 1 g|
|Fiber 5 g||20%|
|Protein 6 g||12%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
What about bread makers and stand mixers?
Although bread makers fell out of favor after the rise in popularity of low carbohydrate diets, they are highly recommended to any home cook who enjoys bread products. Just add ingredients to the pan and the machine does all the hard work.
Besides baking a perfect loaf of homemade bread, most models have a "dough" cycle that kneads ingredients and keeps dough warm during the first rise. This feature is very handy for making pizzas, bagels, pretzels and sweet breads such as cinnamon rolls. Most machines also have a special cycle for healthful, whole grain breads.
Two excellent bread makers are pictured in the column to the right. The Hamilton Beach costs around $60 and will turn out beautiful loaves of bread or bread dough. The Panasonic SD-YD250 is highly rated for durability and ease of use. My Panasonic has been dropped off the kitchen countertop and plugged into a 220V outlet, yet it still works like a charm after 5 years of weekly use.
A stand mixer is a great option for those who make bread dough on a regular basis. The KitchenAid comes with a dough hook which takes care of the kneading for you; allow the dough to rise right in the bowl before proceeding. Stand mixers are also indispensable for whipping egg whites and mixing batter. Optional attachments can be purchased for grinding meat, juicing citrus fruits and slicing and shredding. Attachments for making pasta and ice cream option are also available.
More Homemade Bread Recipes:
How to eat pita bread
In the Middle East and Mediterranean, pitas are often used to scoop up dips such as garlicky hummus or babaganoush (smoky eggplant dip). They can also become a wrap for kebabs, gyros or falafel. In America pita is sometimes called pocket bread. Just split them in half and fill with chicken salad, meat or veggies. Use your imagination!
Try using pita to make a personal pizza for a kid-friendly and healthful recipe. Spread the pita with pizza sauce then sprinkle with cheese and your favorite toppings. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Slice a pita in half and then half again to form four triangles. If desired, brush with olive oil, garlic powder and Italian or Mexican seasoning. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 15 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Serve as "chips" with dip or salsa.
For a pita breakfast sandwich, slice pita in half and stuff with any of the following ingredients:
- scrambled eggs
- breakfast sausage
- hash brown potatoes
- green chiles
- sauteed red peppers and onions
- shredded cheese
Top a toasted pita with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce for a quick, elegant breakfast.
For a healthy lunch, try a California pita pocket.
- 2 Tablespoons lowfat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- tomato, sliced
- cucumber, sliced
- alfalfa sprouts or cilantro leaves
- fresh or roasted red peppers
- avocado, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix Neufchatel and garlic powder. Cut pita in half and spread garlic cream cheese spread on the inside of pita pocket. Fill pocket with cucumbers, tomatoes, cilantro or sprouts, avocado and fresh or fire roasted red peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.