Whole wheat pita bread that is hearty, soft and puffed up. This simple and easy recipe will give you perfect pockets every single time, while keeping it healthy and delicious. These homemade pitas are vegan.
In a stand mixer bowl, fitted with a dough hook, pour warm water, scatter the yeast and wait couple minutes until foamy. Stir in 1½ cups wheat flour and vital gluten. Cover with a moist towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Add Remaining Ingredients
With the mixer running at low speed, add olive oil, salt, ½ cup flour. Gradually add remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.
Knead and Rise
Knead the tough for 6 to 8 minutes at medium-high setting. As the machine is running, the dough should pull away from the sides and hold on to the hook. Use flour as minimally as possible.
Properly kneaded dough should be soft, smooth, shiny and elastic. It should stretch without tearing. Check the window pane test.Tip: Whole wheat dough will not be like all purpose flour dough, but there should be considerable difference in extensibility before and after kneading.
Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl and roll it to coat in oil. Cover with cling wrap or a lid and let it rise in a warm place for about 2 hours and double in bulk (inside an oven that is not preheated works well).
Dough Balls, Rolling Pita and Baking
Preheat oven to over 550 degrees Fahrenheit - the highest in your oven. Place a baking stone, cast iron pan or an inverted baking sheet in the middle of oven.
On a lightly floured surface, deflate the dough and divide it into 5 equal pieces (mine weighed 120 g each). Roll the dough into smooth round balls, pulling the seams and tucking them underneath. Cover the dough balls with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Pat each dough ball and roll it out evenly into a smooth 7 inch circle, that is about ¼ inch thick. Let it rest 5 minutes.
Then slap the pita rounds on the hot baking stone. The side that was facing up on the working surface (exposed to air) should now be facing down and touching the hot stone or pan. Work with two or three pitas at a time, depending on the size of the stone/pan. Tip: If pitas are not puffing up, try a light spray of water on the top of pita before baking.
Let it bake 2 to 3 minutes, until you notice few puffed up spots. Flip the pita and bake on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes until the pita puffs up nicely. Tip: Alternatively, let the pita puff up in 4 to 5 minutes without flipping, but this may cause the pita to be thicker on one side. Try and see what works for you.
Remove from oven, let cool couple minutes, then wrap in kitchen towel and pack in ziplock bags, to keep them soft and prevent drying out.
Stove Top / Skillet (Optional Method)
Brush a cast iron skillet lightly with oil and heat for 5 minutes at medium high setting. When you place your palm 3 inches above the skillet, you should feel the heat.
Place the pita round over the hot skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until you start noticing a few puffed up spots and the bottom has a few brown spots. Flip the pita and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. It should puff up nicely. If needed, flip pita to finish cooking. Cool and store pita breads as mentioned above.
Electric Stove - With Cooling Rack / Wire Roaster (Optional)
This is a more fool proof method for puffed up pitas but they will be a bit too soft.
Lightly oil a cast iron skillet and heat at medium high for 5 minutes, then place the pita round and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on both sides until you see few puffed up spots.
Then transfer the pita round on to a wire roaster or cooling rack that has been placed on the smooth top/electric coil burner at high heat. The pita will puff up flawlessly, unless there is a tear in the dough.
New to Baking: Start with all purpose flour or mix flours.
Adding Extra flour: Go with touch and feel and use minimal flour.
Dry Yeast: Use thermometer and check temperature recommendations. 110 degrees F for active dry yeast and 125 degrees F for rapid rise yeast.
Pitas Don’t Puff Up? Your oven is not hot enough or skillet is not heated well.
Best Oven Pita: Baked at highest possible temperature and in shortest possible time.
Dough by Hand: Stir all ingredients using a strong wooden spoon. Then simply knead for 8 to 10 minutes.
Make Ahead and Freezing: Freeze dough after it has risen and doubled in bulk. Baked pitas can be frozen in freezer safe bags.
Leftover Dry Pita: Dried up pitas can be magically revived. Lightly spray with water in and out, and reheat at 350 degrees F for 2 to 3 minutes until warm.