Sunday, February 27, 2011

Give Us This Day...Whole Wheat Pitas

She came charging across the room last night, still breathless from the music she had just finished performing, words coming out of her mouth almost before she reached me, "So I'm looking forward to reading your blog post about bread tomorrow.  I'm not going to bake it, but I love reading about it."  Heh.  Well that's good.  I guess.

The man I love is her choral conductor.  A leader of singers and crafter of music.  People ask me all the time why I'm not in his choir.  I look forward to every concert.  The music transforms.  I'm not going to sing it, but I love listening to it.  Yes.  That's good.

She may never make the bread I write about.  For herself or anyone else.  But she's a fan and that feeds us both.  

I will probably never sing for him.  But I will always be a fan.  And that feeds us both.

Last night's concert was extraordinary.  Extraordinary.  Thank you all for that. 

Whole Wheat Pitas

If you've been following the posts under the heading Give Us This're beginning to see how the same simple ingredients can be transformed into many wonderful things.  For this recipe you'll need to expand your pantry staples with a few new types of flour.  The great thing about flour is you can store it in a zipper bag in your freezer, indefinitely, so go ahead and buy these two new types of flour and store them for when you need them.  This recipe, as written, makes 8 pitas about the size of your open hand.  I ALWAYS double this recipe because, in this case, 8 is NOT enough.  Allow yourself about an hour and a half to produce wonderful homemade pita rounds, hot from your oven.

1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of dry yeast (or 1 package)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, divided
2 tablespoons plain yogurt, Greek style is best, any % will work
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
cooking spray

1.  In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water.  Let stand for 5 minutes or so until it gets foamy.  Whisk in the yogurt and oil.  Add all of the bread flour and the salt, stirring well to combine.  Mix it until it is smooth and then add about half of the whole wheat flour.  When it gets difficult to stir, turn the dough ball out onto a surface lightly sprinkled with some more whole wheat flour.  Scrape the dough bits from the inside of the bowl and gently knead the dough for about 10 minutes adding additional whole wheat flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough stops sticking to you and your counter.  You may need a bit more flour if your dough is sticky.  Don't panic!  Just keeping sprinkling it in until it behaves.  You should be able to work with the dough easily, pushing it hard into your surface.

2.  Place dough ball into a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning it once to coat all sides.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour.  It will double in size.

3.  Move your oven rack to its lowest position and preheat to 500 degrees.

4.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Do not knead it.  Gently pull it into a rope and cut it into 8 portions.  Form each portion into a 6 inch round.  Don't mess with the dough too much here.  The less you handle it the more it will puff up when it cooks.  Heavily coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.  Place 4 dough rounds on each sheet and bake them one sheet at a time for 8-10 minutes each until they are nicely puffed and slightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack if you can wait that long.  We love them with soup or with spicy Middle Easter fare that needs a little help being pushed onto the spoon.


  1. I'll have to try your recipe, thanks!

  2. Hey Nancy, Two questions: 1) How long does this recipe take? Do you think I should dare to attempt it with a fussy 6-week-old in the house, or should I just go out and buy the danged pitas? 2) Do you think I can substitute all-purpose flour and/or some more whole wheat for the bread flour? Not currently in possession of bread flour and don't see myself using a bag up before we move across the country in 2 months with said 6-week-old underfoot.

    Thanks for these posts. Keep 'em coming! I am absolutely STOKED for making soft pretzels just as soon as I have some people to eat them with me so they don't all go to my recovering belly and thighs.