Whole Wheat Pita Bread

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Once you start making certain things on your own, you never want go back to the store-bought brands.  Pita bread is one of those things.  Why??  One bite will tell you. These pitas are soft rounds full of whole wheat flavor that are sweetened with a bit of honey.  Don't be intimidated by making your own.  They really are quite simple to make.  What I love about this recipe is the amount-- 12 pitas!  That means some warm for dinner, a couple for pita pocket sandwiches for lunch, a few baked into pita chips, and whatever is left over goes into the freezer to help me out on a busy weeknight or for a last minute lunch idea. 

Below are a few step-by-step photos to help you with the process.

After kneading the dough, allow it to rise for one hour or until doubled in size.

After the initial rise, gently deflate the dough.

I like to use my kitchen scale covered in plastic wrap to weigh each dough ball, about 3 3/4 ounce each.

I use a minimal amount (if any) of flour when rolling out the rounds.  Too much flour will cause the dough to shrink back, making it difficult to hold the 7-inch round size circle.  Also, when rolling out a round of dough, keep the other balls covered with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out.

Lightly sprinkle the baking sheets with cornmeal to prevent the rounds from sticking.  Allow them to rise for another hour (covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel) or until puffy, but not necessarily doubled in size.  Then bake until lightly golden and puffy.
Mmm-- homemade whole wheat pita!

Whole Wheat Pita
makes 12, 7-inch pitas

2 Tablespoons honey
2-2 1/2 cups lukewarm warm water, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, (two 1/4-ounce packages)
3 cups (13 1/2-ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups (13 1/2-ounces) whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 2 Tablespoons for coating
cornmeal for dusting

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together the honey and 1 cup of the warm water.  Stir in the yeast and set aside until the yeast has bloomed, about 5-10 minutes.  Add to the same bowl both flours, salt, 1/4 cup oil, and 1 cup of the warm water.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth and elastic, adding up to 1/2 cup more water a tablespoon at a time as needed.  Increase the speed to medium and knead for 4-5 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil in the same mixing bowl. Return the dough to the oiled bowl, drizzle the top of the dough with the remaining oil, turning to coat the dough with oil.  Cover the bowl with a cloth or piece of plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough and let rest for 20 minutes.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide the dough (I like to use my kitchen scale) into 12 even pieces, about 3 3/4-ounce each.  Shape each piece into a ball on an unfloured area of the counter, cup your hand over it, and quickly rotate your hand over the dough, forming a tight, evenly round ball.   On the lightly floured surface of your counter, roll each piece of dough into a 1/8-inch thick circle, about 7-inches in diameter; keeping the remaining dough balls covered with a sheet of plastic wrap.  Set each round on a large baking sheet without overlapping.  Lightly dust the rounds with cornmeal to prevent them from sticking.  Cover the dough with a lightly damp towel and let them rise for 1 hour until puffy, but not necessarily doubled in size.  

Meanwhile, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500º F.  Bake the dough rounds one baking sheet at a time until the pitas are puffed and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.  As each batch comes out of the oven, stack the pitas 3 or 4 high and wrap in clean kitchen towels.  Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature.  Well wrapped pitas can be kept for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking, May 2008


  1. Yum! Ive been eating these store bought whole wheat pitas and the taste is just...odd...that's the best way I can describe it. I'm going to try these. thanks for sharing.

  2. I've never made homemade pita bread. Can't wait to try your whole wheat version. Looks fantastic. Great photos, too!

  3. At last! I have been waiting for this recipe, ever since I saw your pitas the other week. The pictures are beautiful and extremely helpful. I will be making these very soon. Thanks for sharing.

  4. That looks delicious! We've been buying store bought and then toasting them into chips for hummus. It would be fun to take it a step further and make the pita itself! Yours look terrific!

  5. These look fantastic! I agree that store bought pitas can taste a little off, but have never taken the plunge to make my own. Smart move!

  6. I make so many breads, but have never tried pita (or bagels). I have always been intimidated by them somehow. But you do make it sound simple. I think I will have to attempt it. Soon. Very soon!

  7. These look amazing, I can just taste them with good hummus and summer tomatoes, yum! Thanks for a wonderfu sounding, healthy recipe, Chris

  8. Making these now! Thanks for sharing the healthy recipe!

  9. Thanks for this recipe. I made those pitas yesterday, and they were fantastic! they taste really deicious. the only thing is that they didn't all rise in the oven, so they weren't all easy to fill. do you know what I could have done wrong?

  10. Charlotte- I am glad you enjoyed the recipe:) As far as why they didn't puff there could be several reasons. First, make sure your oven is calibrated and the temperature is reaching 500º F. Pitas are traditionally made in brick ovens, so the high heat is the best environment for making at home. Also, the pita rounds may have been rolled out too thin or may not have risen long enough especially if the air temperature is too cool or dry. Lastly, as tempting as it is to peak, do not open the door. Doing so releases any steam or moisture which helps the pitas puff. Hope this helps!

  11. I'm making these today. I made some regular (all purpose flour) the other day and they were so good but I wanted to use whole wheat if possible. I'm so glad I found this recipe. Hope mine turn out as great looking as yours did!

  12. I don't have a mixer with the dough hook (I'm new to the making stuff from scratch). Can I just mend the dough by hand?

  13. My husband and I spent all evening making these and they came out AMAZING. that's an understatement actually. They tasted so good, it's the real deal. I'm middle eastern so I know how they are supposed to taste like. Great recipe. Thank you so much!

    1. So pleased you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for letting me know☺.

    2. I'm not sure if my message that I wrote earlier went through. I wanted to know how I can make thinner pita. The first time I made them, they were a little thick. I was wondering if I roll them out thinner or maybe use less yeast? But I'm afraid they won't puff out. Thoughts?

      Thank you!

    3. I wouldn't suggest using less yeast. If you roll them out larger than 7-inches in diameter, you may want to increase the rise time to ensure a goof puff.

  14. Hi Nicole. the first time I made them they were great (as you read above) but it was a little thick. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make thinner pita? I'm afraid if I roll them too thin, they won't puff out. I'm thinking less yeast? Please let me know your thoughts as I'm going to try to make them again tonight.
    Thank you!

  15. This was a fantastic recipe. Absolutely perfect. The one caution I will make to others is to indeed roll them out to 7 inches in diameter and then use 3 half*-sheet pans in rotation in the oven -- 4 pitas per pan. (What we home cooks call sheet pans are technically half-sheet pans; I've only seen actual sheet pans in professional kitchens.) I rolled out to 5 inches so I could put 6 on two pans, and while they were gloriously puffy, soft, and delicious, they didn't really have a pocket. We engineered pockets using a serrated knife, and I realized that the recipe calls for 7 inches so that there is enough room for a pocket to develop.


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