I’ve clearly been on a bit of baking kick lately. I think it’s been because by the end of the week I’m out of fresh goods but I always have basic baking ingredients in my pantry.
A lot of people bake bread to be frugal. And I’d like to say that I made these pita because they were cheaper than store bought ones, but I’m not entirely sure that’s the case. They are better than store bought ones though. And really not that hard. If you like excuses to whip out the ol’ rolling pin, and want a bread that’s really hard to mess up and not too much trouble, give these a try. I have fun every time I make them. You’ll also end up with enough that you can probably freeze half for when you aren’t feeling as motivated to bake.
The Kosher Foodies shared a pita recipe recently that I haven’t tried yet. They posted a great tip: they reserve some of the dough in the fridge so that they can bake up fresh pita any time they want. I like the idea, but in practice I don’t usually want to flour up my counter and roll out new dough just to make a few breads. I’d rather bake them all up at once and freeze some for later. But I really like the idea, and maybe you will too.
The original recipe is from my family’s favorite tome, Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews,
and is one of the few from the book that I haven’t felt the need to change too much but I just had to make some changes and notes. It’s a beautiful book of Syrian food, one of the only ones that I’ve ever seen really, but often the recipes and instructions seem like they could have used more editing or testing.
Recipe: Whole Wheat Pita
Makes 16 pitas, between 6 and 8 inches in diameter
Active time: less than 20 minutes, Rising and cooking time: up to 2 hours
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 3 cups warm water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 to 1 1/2 extra cup(s) of all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs salt
- Combine water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Allow to site for 10 minutes to proof the yeast.
- Pour in the flour and the salt. Mix by hand. When the dough starts to form a ball, knead until the dough no longer feels sticky. Add some of the extra flour as necessary.
- When finished kneading, return to bowl and seal with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place for an hour (or until dough has doubled in size).
- Turn out onto a well floured surface. The dough will be very moist and stringy. Divide into quarters. Divide each quarter into quarters and roll each piece into a ball.
- Preheat oven to 525 degrees.
- Roll each ball into a flat disk between 6 and 8 inches in diameter and place onto a baking pan. Once each pan is full, cover with a towel and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Flip each pita over before baking. This will allow proper puffing.
- Bake each tray for 4-7 minutes, or until completely puffed. Be careful not to let them burn.
- Remove from the oven and allow loaves to cool on wire racks.
Enjoy with just about anything. One day, I filled some with shakshuka that I made in the Morocco-inspired sauce I wrote about a few weeks ago (to impress a dear friend who was visiting). Another day, I simply filled one with slices of avocado. And another time, I ate one with nothing inside because they are just so tasty.
About this author: I'm a New Yorker who would rather cook than go out to restaurants. Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong city for that. Then I remember the exotic ingredients I'd be hard-pressed to find if I lived somewhere else. My cooking style is an eclectic range of everyday-American, Italian, middle-eastern, with extensive forays into Japanese cuisine, and some pit-stops into Indian and African cuisines. I love to try my hand at recreating dishes I taste. While I enjoy most anything with a flavor, from high cuisine to instant junk food, I have a soft spot in my belly for home-style cooking no matter the geographic or ethnic origin.