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Chewy Whole Grain Pita Bread Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

pita bread & garlicky hummus

pita bread & garlicky hummus

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.


Tips:

  • 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.


  1. Generously sprinkle countertop or Silpat with flour and flour your hands.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. Continue kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, or springs back from your touch.
  5. 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.


Warm stack of pita bread

Warm stack of pita bread

Chewy Multi-Grain Pitas

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 hours

20 min

2 hours 20 min

20 6-inch pitas

Ingredients

  • 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
hand mixer method

hand mixer method

knead for a few minutes

knead for a few minutes

ready for first rise

ready for first rise

roll out circles

roll out circles

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Add 2 cups of water and blend on high speed with a hand mixer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 1 more cup of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Return dough to floured surface. Cut dough into 20 uniformly sized pieces.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove baking sheet from hot oven. Sprinkle with cornmeal.
  9. Slide four pitas on the baking sheet and place baking sheet on the bottom rack of hot oven.
  10. 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.
  11. Repeat steps 7-9 with the remaining pitas, until all have been baked.
  12. 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.



pitas

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.


pitas

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
  • bacon
  • breakfast sausage
  • hash brown potatoes
  • green chiles
  • sauteed red peppers and onions
  • salsa
  • 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.

Enjoy!

Falafel sandwich

Falafel sandwich

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on August 03, 2013:

FlourishAnyway, you're right that chicken salad goes so well with pita pockets. That makes me crave chicken salad and pita, too! Now I'll have to whip up a batch soon. Thanks for your comment!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on August 03, 2013:

Hi Suzie! It[s always nice to hear from you. Yes, pita is so delicious and versatile and hummus is also one of my favorites. The city where we landed has a local bread called "chapla" and it's actually a pita bread, sometimes made with anis. It's rustic...crafted with unrefined flour and baked in brick ovens. So yummy! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your weekend. : )

FlourishAnyway from USA on August 03, 2013:

These look terrific. I have a wonderful recipe for chicken salad that I bet these would go great with. Thanks for presenting this recipe.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on August 03, 2013:

Hi Vespa,

Don't know HOW I missed this, what a gorgeous and delicious recipe! I love this style with everything, particularly dips and meze which I had so much of in Turkey. Yummy pitta bread and flat breads are so versatile. Thanks for this recipe with the suggestions. Hummus and the Californian lunch recipe are my favorites but love tzatziki too.

Votes, shared and pinned!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on March 07, 2013:

PeggyW, I'm glad you like the photos! These pitas freeze well and you're right--they're great to have on hand for healthy sandwiches. I especially like them filled with chicken salad.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 07, 2013:

Came back to give this a 5 star rating and getting closer to thinking about making these whole grain pita breads to have on hand for healthy sandwiches. Love your photos! You make everything look so scrumptious!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 18, 2013:

Truthfornow, homemade pita is so much more delicious than any you can buy at a store and its uses are only limited by the imagination. Enjoy and thanks for the comment.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 18, 2013:

DonBobbitt, this really is a versatile and yummy bread. Enjoy and tanks for your comment.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on February 16, 2013:

I always buy mine from the store and wonder why it doesn't taste as good as at a restaurant. Guess I will have to try to make my own. Love that you included recipes for fillings. That falafel sandwich looks so good.

Don Bobbitt from Ruskin Florida on February 16, 2013:

Great Recipe - again, vespawoolf.

I can't wait to try it out. i love chewy breads that make you work for the flavors.

Voted UP and Useful.

DON

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 04, 2012:

Yes, this is a nutritious pita bread. Kids love to watch it puff up in the oven. Just turn on the oven light and watch their eyes light up! Thanks for commenting, Peggy W.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 04, 2012:

Your whole wheat pita bread recipe sounds not only good but also a healthier version of what we usually purchase in grocery stores. Interesting...the short baking time in the hot oven. Would be fun to watch it puff up. We like using it for hummus and also sandwiches. Up, useful and will share.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 09, 2012:

RajanJolly, this is a very versatile bread and easy to make, too. Thanks so much for coming by!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 08, 2012:

Very interesting recipe. Love the fact that various fillings can be used to pocket the pita bread.

Voted up and interesting. Sharing this hub.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 06, 2012:

ComfortB, your pita sandwich sounds delicious! Now I'm in the mood for one, too. : ) Thanks for the comment and vote.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on October 06, 2012:

You just got me in the mood for a pita sandwich (voted for).

My favorite fillings, grilled chicken strips with red and green peppers, and onions, topped with lettuse and (your choice of) salad dressing. Yum!

Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 06, 2012:

Donnah75, I hope you find this recipe easy to follow. Please let me know if you think of it. This pita is so much healthier than the white flour variety and very versatile. Be sure to bake on the lowest oven rack so they balloon up and leave pockets. Thank you for coming by!

Donna Hilbrandt from Upstate New York on October 06, 2012:

How did I miss this yummy hub of yours. I have always been intrigued by the idea of making pita at home, but I never tried it. It looks quite easy, especially since I have a bread maker with a dough cycle. I am going to try this. Wish me luck!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on October 06, 2012:

MamaKim, we eat these a lot. They're easy to make and you can do so many things with them. It's always nice to hear from you, my friend. : ) I appreciate the vote, pin and share!

Sasha Kim on October 06, 2012:

What luck... I was in the market for a pita recipe to go with my hummus dip ^_^ This one sounds delicious and it's whole grain too!! Fantastic. Voting pinning and sharing!!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 23, 2012:

I've found that grocery store pita often has the texture and flavor of cardboard, nothing like the homemade variety. Thank you for visiting, alocsin.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 23, 2012:

It never occurred to me that I could make this yummy. I always bought mine in stores and they've been less tasty than those served at the restaurants. Thanks for the recipe. Voting this Up and Useful.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 07, 2012:

Thank you for your comment, mary615. It's nice to meet a fellow bread maker! There's something special about bread that's been hand-kneaded. Enjoy the pita!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 07, 2012:

I will defintely try this pita bread! I've never tried to make it before, but I love to bake bread. I bought a bread maker and I did not have good results with it. I just knead by hand. Great Hub

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 05, 2012:

yum! Red pepper hummus! Thank you for commenting and enjoy your pita and hummus, Danareva.

Dana De Greff from Miami on April 05, 2012:

This is something I will definitely try! It will go great with a red pepper hummus...thanks for some great tips!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 05, 2012:

Yes, I know exactly what you mean! ha ha

jenubouka on April 05, 2012:

It is a great and free way to work out those hard to reach arm muscles that later in life take a mind of their own...:)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 05, 2012:

Wow, I'm impressed that you knead your bread! There is something special about the hands-on artisanal approach. It's always nice to hear from you, jenubouka.

jenubouka on April 05, 2012:

What an awesome hub! I love pita bread and multigrain is even better for our home. I am old school and hand knead my bread, but loved your part about bread machines. Yum!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 04, 2012:

It's always nice to hear from you, anglnwu. Pitas are actually very easy to make! Hope you have a chance to try it.

anglnwu on April 04, 2012:

You make your own pita? Very impressive. Love the beautiful layout and your ideas for packing the pita pocket. I used to pack pita pocket for lunch for my son to take to school. Thanks for sharing.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 04, 2012:

Thank you for commenting, Organicpixie, and I hope you enjoy the pita bread! It's easy and fun to make.

Organicpixie from London on April 04, 2012:

Wow I love Pitta bread and never thought to make it. I'll give this a go. Thanks.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 04, 2012:

Thank you for dropping by, randomcreative. The pitas are fun to make and so versatile, too!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 04, 2012:

Great recipe! I will have to give this a try sometime. Thanks. :)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 04, 2012:

Thank you for visiting, debbie roberts, and I'm glad the recipe can be of some use. Pita with pockets is so versatile! Please let me know again what you'd like a recipe for? I'd be happy to oblige!

Debbie Roberts from Greece on April 03, 2012:

Oh these look nice! I've not had time to try your icecream cookie recipe yet,slow down!!

We eat pita here, but can only get white ones and they don't have pockets, so will be giving these ago. You don't just happen to have a recipe for a making time? It would be gladly received.

Voted up and shared.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 03, 2012:

Hummus and pita...my favorite. It's one of the few combinations that's both nutritious and delicious. I'd love to try your daughter's hummus recipe. Please let me know if you publish it!

WD Curry 111 from Space Coast on April 03, 2012:

This is great! My Daughter has just taught me to make the best hummus. Look out! I'll be surfing again, soon.