I decided to go outside my comfort zone two weeks ago and try my hand at homemade pita. I knew I wanted to use whole wheat flour so I found a recipe on Epicurious that I thought I could modify easily enough with a higher ratio of whole wheat flour. This recipe does take time, but I assure you it’s worth the effort! Since I was working with my little chef (my 4 year old daughter) it was fun to teach her about yeast and the whole process of how to make bread. The end result was fabulous tasting pita, but it lacked the “pocket”.
I went back to the drawing board, modified the recipe again, and came up with this! It’s the perfect thickness and puffs up beautifully as it cooks to form that pocket I was missing from the first try. The key is to roll it thin enough and don’t overcook. It literally takes 3 minutes in the oven!
To go with these lovely pita, I made up a batch of baba ganouj. This heavenly eggplant spread not only goes great with the pita, it’s can also be served with crudites, crackers or spread on some multigrain bread and layered with some grilled veggies. YUM!
Whole Wheat Pita
Makes 8 (7″ inch) pitas
1 package active dry yeast
1 tsp honey
1 1/4 C warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 C oat flour
3 T vital wheat gluten (this really helps to make the pita rise)
1/2 C bread flour (plus more for kneading and rolling out)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Next, stir together the flours in another bowl. Once the yeast mixture is ready, whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture in until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and cut into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin.
Set oven rack in the lower third of the oven and place a large piece of aluminum foil directly across the rack. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Place pitas (you should be able to fit four pitas across) directly onto the aluminum foil making sure they aren’t touching. Bake for 2 minutes. Flip and bake for 1 minute more. DO NOT OVERCOOK! They really do only take 3 minutes!
Cool on a wire rack before storing. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap once they are cool, place in a large freezer bag and put them in the freezer until I am ready to eat one. You can defrost them overnight in the refrigerator or pop in the microwave for 2o seconds.
2 medium eggplant
Juice from one lemon (you want a good 2 TBS worth)
1/2 C tahini
1/3 C finely chopped parsley (I prefer flat leaf over curly)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder (you could use 2 minced garlic cloves if you prefer fresh)
1 TBS olive oil
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prick the eggplant all over with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cook for roughly 45 minutes or until they look deflated and are completely soft. Once they are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash well. Add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Chill until cold. Enjoy!