Soft pillowy whole-wheat pita bread that pairs wonderfully with hummus or can be made into pita pockets.
If there’s one meal my family really enjoys it’s Mediterranean cuisine! It’s the one food choice my husband and I always agree on and every time we travel abroad we’re always scouting for cafes/restaurants serving good mezze because of the limited options we have in the city we currently live in.
It’s why I started to make it a lot more often at home, and now it’s become part of our weekly dinner plans. Once every week, I try to put together an assortment that includes a mix-match from the following:
- A varieties of Hummus
- Baba Ghanoush
- Batata Harra
- Tabbouleh/Couscous Salad/Fattoush/Roasted Chickpea Salad
- Pickles/Stuffed Peppers/Feta Cheese
But the one thing that rounds up all of this for us ALWAYS, is PITA BREAD. Our meal is incomplete without it and no matter what dips or salads go on our mezze platter, pita is a consistent feature. For the longest time, I used to buy pita bread from the store. However, once I started making it and realized how easy and how much better it was, I never went back to store-brought pita again. We now enjoy hot piping pita bread straight from the oven with a cold creamy hummus or toum and look forward to our Mediterranean meal nights!
Here, I am sharing the recipe of my home-made pita bread. It’s pillowy soft, and so flavorful despite being made with the most basic ingredients –
The process is just as simple.
Kneading the Dough
You prove the yeast with some water and sugar. Then you add the flour and start to knead. You could knead the dough for this whole-wheat pita bread by hand or in a stand mixer. The dough needs to be soft but not sticky. So add water a little at a time and not all at one go. Add the oil when the dough has come together into a ball.
In a stand mixer, the dough will take 6-7 minutes to be ready, whereas by hand you will have to knead for 10-12 minutes. The more you knead, the more gluten the dough will develop leading to a softer pita bread.
To check if the dough is ready, pinch off a small portion and stretch it between the fingers of both hands to form a thin membrane or “window-pane.” If the dough tears too much during this, it needs to be kneaded for some more time.
Although a window-pane is much easier to achieve with all-purpose flour than with whole-wheat flour, it is not impossible and with the correct kneading time and pressure, you will get it with whole-wheat flour too.
Resting the Dough
The dough needs to be rested for an hour during which it doubles in size.
When resting the dough, ensure the bowl is covered with a cloth or with cling wrap. Also place the bowl in a warm place – I usually put mine in the kitchen or inside the closed oven.
Shaping and Second Proving
The dough for pita bread needs to be rested twice. Once after kneading, and the second time after rolling the dough into rounds for the pita. After the dough has rested for an hour, you have to punch it down and divide it into equal sized balls. Roll each one into a flat round disc – not very thick as it won’t puff up and a very thin one will not make a good pocket.
Place each of the rolled discs on a parchment-lined tray. Cover it and rest it again for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven. Finally bake the pitas for 8-12 minutes or until nice and puffy in the oven. Remove and serve immediately.
Instant vs Active Dry Yeast
You could use either dry or instant yeast for this pita recipe. I prefer to use instant for all bread baking. Although instant yeast does not require to be proved separately and can be added to the flour directly, I always suggest you prove it to ensure that the yeast is fresh.
To prove the yeast, simply mix it with a little sugar and warm water and leave aside for 10 minutes till it is nice and bubbly. If the yeast does not become frothy, you need to start over with a new pack.
Read my detailed guide on yeast here or watch this 30-second time-lapse video on the process of yeast proofing.
Whole-Wheat vs All-Purpose Flour
I’ve made this pita bread with 100% all-purpose flour, 100% whole-wheat flour and also with a combination of the two flours in varying ratios.
To be honest, I personally do not like the taste of 100% whole-wheat pita bread. I find it dense and flour-y despite making many changes to the recipe. I finally settled on making the pitas with a 70:30 ratio of whole-wheat to all-purpose flour that gave me the best soft fluffy pitas with the perfect taste too.
Do ensure that the water is lukewarm and not very hot as that will kill the yeast.
These pitas make for great pockets to make filled sandwiches that are great as a tiffin or school snack too. The key to achieving the perfect pocket is ensuring a perfectly puffed puff pita that is evenly baked.
We usually make pita pockets with home-made falafels. There are various ways to make pita pockets and you could try one of these combinations or anything else that you fancy.
- Falafel + Tahini Sauce
- Chickpea Salad + Hummus
- Grilled vegetables + Feta/any fresh cheese
- Fattoush Salad + Crumbled Cottage Cheese
Since the pitas are soft, they don’t keep very well after filling them. So if making pita pockets, you could do your meal prep and have your mise-en-place but it’s best to make them just before serving.
Pita bread is best eaten the same day and right out of the oven, steaming hot and served with a cold creamy dip. However, if you want to store them, wrap the pitas in foil paper and then place in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. They can be kept outside for 24 hours or in the fridge for upto 3-4 days. Re-heat in the microwave or oven before serving.
So go on, make this easy whole-wheat pita bread and your meal time a little better!
Share a pic or your feedback if you try it. I’m on insta as loveandflourbypooja
Other blog recipes you may like
- Whole-Wheat Sandwich Loaf
- Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks
- Yeast-Free Pizza Base
- Ladi Pav or Pav Buns
- Mini whole-wheat Cheesy Buns
- Cinnamon Rolls
Whole-Wheat Pita Bread
- 1½ cup Whole-Wheat Flour
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1.5 tsp Caster Sugar
- 1 tsp Instant Yeast OR 1.5 tsp Active Dry Yeast
- ½ cup – ¾ cup Warm Water
- 2 tsp Oil
- Prove the Yeast – In a bowl, add the yeast, sugar and 2 tbsp of the warm water. Ensure that the water is not too hot. Cover the bowl and set it aside for 10 minutes or till the yeast starts becomes bubbly and frothy. Watch the process here
- In a large bowl, add both flours and the salt. Make a well in the center and add the frothed yeast water and mix everything to combine.
- Start adding the remaining water a little at a time and begin to knead. Once the dough comes together, tip in the oil and continue to knead – 6-7 minutes if using a stand mixer or 10-12 minutes if kneading by hand.
- Once the dough is ready, roll it into a ball, and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and place it in a warm place. Proof the dough for atleast 45 minutes or till the dough doubles in size.
- Once proofed, punch down the dough and divide into equal-sized balls. Take one ball and roll into a round disc of 1/8 inch thickness and place on a parchment lined tray. Repeat for each ball. Cover the tray with the cloth and let it rest again for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200° C. Remove the cloth and slide the tray into the hot oven and bake for 8-12 minutes or until you see the pitas puffed up inside the oven.
- Serve hot with falafels or hummus.