I have a system of grocery shopping where I've figured out the products and brands I trust, and which stores to shop at in order to purchase them. So when I walk into my store of choice, go to the aisle to purchase the extra-soft, pliable pitas for gyros and hummus-dipping and find them sold out, well, a mini-crisis occurs in my head.
After a few weeks of hunting around in different stores, I was still pita-less and my need to whip together a bowl of hummus was steadily increasing. The desire to make my own pitas, born out of my love for hummus and gyros, was realized on the back steps of my house.
The problem I found in making my own pitas was that I wanted the bendable kind like you wrap your falafel or your gyros in, as opposed to the bubble-pocket pitas that you cut in half and fill. Most recipes lean towards the latter. Still, I persevered and my persistence paid off in soft, warm pita rounds that were perfect for dipping in hummus or filling with grilled vegetables and tzatziki sauce.
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
1½ cups warm water, 110 degrees
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups whole-wheat flour
1-3 tablespoons olive oil
Pour warm water in a large bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and sugar and allow to stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt. Mix flours together. Add flour to the yeast mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. When all the flour is added, turn the mixture out onto an oiled surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Place in a bowl and cover. Let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350º F. Punch down the dough and knead lightly to form a ball. Split into 6-8 equal pieces and roll into balls. Roll each ball of dough into a ¼"-thick circle. Place dough on baking sheets covered in parchment or silicone baking mats and poke lightly with a fork.
Bake at 350º F on the lowest rack in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Flip and bake an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely and store until ready to use. Just before serving, lightly oil both sides of each pita round and heat on a grill, flat griddle, or in a frying pan over medium heat for 30-60 seconds per side, just until warm and easily pliable. Serve warm.
Makes 6-8 pita rounds.
Photo by Shaina Olmanson