Do you like pita bread? Do you like soft, fresh-tasting pita bread? How about cushiony, floury, foldable, stuffable, beyond your dreams, healthier pita bread? Okay, now that we’re on the same page, let’s talk about making Homemade Pita Bread.
The basic ingredients for this recipe are fairly simple. However, there are two essential additions. I have included hemp hearts and organic, stone-ground whole wheat flour. Both of these nutrient-dense foods make pitas healthier. But each one contributes something more. Hemp hearts have an outstanding way of softening the dough. A light touch of nutty, stone-ground whole wheat flour increases the pita’s flavor immensely.
When you make the recipe, use whole wheat bread flour and not whole wheat pastry flour, spelt or another variation. That’s because I have adjusted the water in this recipe for the combination of tasty, stone-ground whole wheat bread flour combined with organic all-purpose white flour. The lower protein content of all-purpose flour makes the pitas tender, be sure your white flour is all-purpose and not bread flour.
So, we have established the vital ingredients. But now, to be fair, I must let you know that the technique and most importantly, the equipment are key as well. If you don’t already own a quality pizza stone, let me tell you what a difference it can make to your baking projects. You will find the rise and crust on your pizza, bagels, and artisan bread phenomenal with this device.
While there are many pizza stones available on the market, I recommend a ceramic model. I have an affordable, 15-inch ceramic stone that has served me well for 9 years. I love watching my pita discs puff magically into tight round balloons within minutes of being transferred to the stone. Yes, they will sag as they cool, but the pocket is formed so you can stuff the pitas. That’s cause for celebration.
Speaking of transferring pitas, there is one other item you might like to know about. It’s optional since you can use parchment paper to transfer your pitas to the baking stone. However, if you are serious about baking, the Super Peel is God’s gift to dough handlers. It’s handsome, durable, and ingenious. Again, I have had my Super Peel for years, and their friendly customer service is excellent. Plus, I find the story of how they started their family business heart-warming.
Now I think that’s enough talk, and time to let you get on with baking your own amazing homemade pita bread. I know you will find them perfect stuffed with your favorite fillings or slathered with a delicious spread and folded in hand.
Pillow Soft Homemade Pita Bread
- 1 cup water
- 1 TB raw hemp hearts
- 2 tsp. maple syrup or honey
- 1 1/2 tsp. active dry or SAF instant yeast
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 cup organic stone-ground whole wheat flour
- 2 1/4 cups organic all purpose flour
Make Hemp Milk:
- Put water, hemp seed and maple syrup in a blender. Blend on high until mixture is just lukewarm.
- Pour blended hemp milk into bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle with yeast and let bloom a few minutes.
- Whisk in olive oil, whole wheat flour and salt. Stir in all purpose flour to make a rough dough. Attach dough hook to mixer. Knead on medium setting for 7-8 minutes. If you have a KItchenAide mixer, setting 4 is just right. Dough will be stretchy and slightly sticky when finished.
Transfer and Rise Dough
- Oil hands and a large bowl lightly with olive oil. Scrape dough into oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until fully doubled, approximately 1-2 hours, depending on room temperature.
First Shaping and 10 Minute Rest
- Lay a sheet of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Moisten two thin tea towels or large squares of cotton fabric and wring it out well. You will use the cookie sheet and damp towels to rest balls of dough for your pita breads.
- Lightly flour counter top. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Using floured hands, shape dough into two round discs. Cut each disc in half, then each half into thirds, as you would a pie. You will end up with 12 pieces of dough on the counter.
- Cover all the sectioned pieces loosely with damp tea towel while working.
- Take out one piece of dough and flatten and stretch it out a bit while holding in hands. Then, pull the edges up and tuck into the center. Pinch the top of the dough together to form a smooth round ball. Dust very lightly with flour and place seam side down back on parchment lined cookie sheet. Keep balls of dough covered with damp towel while working.
- When all the balls of dough are shaped, set a timer and let rest 10 minutes.
Pre-Heat Pizza Stone in Oven
- Place pizza stone on middle rack of oven and set to 510 degrees.
Second Shaping and 25 Minute Rest
- Lightly dust a large, smooth work surface about 36 inches long with flour. Take one piece of dough from the cookie sheet. Roll out to 1/16 inch thick to make medium-sized pitas. 7 inches is a good size. Set a timer for 25 minutes once you finish rolling out the first pita.
- If you will be using a Super Peel, you can leave the individual pitas to rise directly on the counter top. However, if you will be using parchment, transfer each pita back to the cookie sheet after rolling out. You may need an addition cookie sheet lined with parchment.
- Repeat with all the pitas, keeping covered with damp towel from the start of rolling out. Let all the pitas finish resting until the 25 minute timer goes off. (You would have set this after rolling out the first pita).
- Select the pitas that were rolled out first. Transfer 3-4 pitas at a time to Super Peel if using. Or, trim parchment to sections with 3-4 pitas on top. Deliver to baking stone in oven.
Bake Pita Bread:
- Bake until all pitas have puffed into balloon shape, no longer than 2 minutes. Flip and bake about 1 minute longer.
- Put in a large bowl and cover loosely. Repeat until all the pitas are baked.