Mediterranean Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Mediterranean Whole Wheat Pita Bread and Hummus: Pure and Simple

One of my favorite restaurants is a a little hole in the wall Middle Eastern Restaurant located in San Marcos, California. Whenever I am in the area I make a point of stopping in and ordering up a falafel sandwich with a side of fresh homemade hummus. It is literally the best I have tasted anywhere besides a little roadside stand in Bethlehem where I had my first taste of Middle Eastern Food. 

Unfortunately, San Marcos is about 1100 miles away from Boise, so I decided to try my hand at making my own. I am glad I did. There is nothing like freshly baked pita bread, hot off the griddle, dipped in a creamy hummus with an earthy olive oil on top. Don’t take my word for it though, try it out and you be the judge. You can thank me later.
 
 

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. Proofing the yeast
  2. 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  3. 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast (or 1 package)
  4. Pinch of sugar (I used raw)
Dough
  1. 3/4 cup hot water
  2. 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I use sprouted whole wheat but any will do)
  3. 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour, divided
  4. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 tbsp salt
  6. 1/4 tsp dried coriander (optional)
Proofing the Yeast
  1. Place 1/4 cup lukewarm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar into large mixing bowl, whisk together and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes until mixture has expanded and is frothy.
Dough
  1. Add 3/4 cup wheat flour, 3/4 cup all purpose flour, 3/4 cup hot water, salt, coriander(if using) and olive oil and blend on medium speed for 4 minutes (stopping half way through to scrape down sides of bowl) until well blended.
  2. Add additional 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup at a time to dough, Blending after each addition of flour. With your last 1/2 cup of flour sprinkle lightly and blend until a stopping rough shaggy ball begins to form.
  3. Stop Mixer, with your hands mix enough of the remaining flour to prevent excessive sticking. (Pita will form and cook better if the dough remains on the stickier side).
  4. Remove beater and replace with dough hook, if you are using one.
  5. Using dough hook process on medium for 4-5 minutes, or until bread is smooth and elastic.
  6. If kneading by hand, flour surface to be used, lightly with flour.
  7. Using a push, fold, and 1/4 turn motion, Knead the bread for 5-10 minutes until bread is smooth and elastic.
Rising
  1. Once dough is smooth and elastic, place in a medium sized bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Turn dough to ensure both sides are lightly oiled.
  2. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, dry, draft free area to rise until doubled in size. (about 45 minutes to 1 hour).
Shaping and Cooking the Pita
  1. Once your dough has doubled in bulk, punch down your down and knead by hand a few times to return the dough to a nice round ball.
  2. Allow the dough to rest covered with a clean towel for 5 minutes before shaping.
  3. Once rested, divide your dough into 10 equal pieces
  4. Patting and coaxing them into nice round balls. Cover with clean towel and allow to rest while preparing cooking surface.
  5. Heat Griddle (or cast iron skillet, if using)to 400 degrees and lightly brush with olive oil. Remove excess with paper towel.
  6. Once skillet is hot and prepped begin to shape your dough, working with one piece at a time.
  7. Place round ball on surface and lightly pat into a round disc.
  8. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/4 thickness.
  9. Once rolled, place one at a time on griddle (or in skillet) watching carefully. Turn after about 20 seconds, once dough is firm enough to turn.
  10. Continue to turn about every 30 seconds or so until dough begins to puff in the middle.
  11. Once dough has started to puff, you will know that it is done. *see note 1
  12. Place within a clean towel and cover to keep warm if eating right away.
  13. Working with one ball at a time,
Notes
  1. 1. There is nothing like seeing that pita bread puff, but I will warn you, it only happens about 70% of the time for me and this is not unusual. If you have been cooking your pita for some time and it is well browned, and hasn't puffed up, it is probably not going too, Don't be alarmed it will still taste amazing. It is just expressing its individuality, so go ahead and move on.
  2. 2. Once the pita dough has risen, you can place the dough in the refrigerator and bring out pieces to cook as you need them, for about 4-5 days. I personally find that it is better to just go ahead and cook the whole batch and the ones that don't get eaten, once cooled completely can be placed in a plastic ziploc bag and stay good for about the same length of time or I can throw the in the freezer and thaw them individually as I need them.
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