Some things are so much better homemade, and pita bread is definitely included in this category. I have always assumed that pita bead is supposed to taste like cardboard, since that is what the store bought stuff tastes like. I assumed that until I made pita bread at home and fell in love with the results. You have never truly had pita bread until you have made it yourself.
I love baking with yeast. The process can be tedious and time consuming but the results are always well worth the wait. Even though they take some time to make, you can start making these in the morning and have fresh pita bread by lunch time. Also, these freeze so well! I always make a full batch and keep half in an airtight container on the counter and put the other half in the freezer. They taste just as fresh out of the freezer as they do out of the oven – honestly! Just pull one out of the freezer about 30 minutes before eating and enjoy with tuna, egg salad, or anything else you might want to throw in it. One last tip, I highly recommend using a baking stone instead of a cookie sheet when baking these. A baking stone allows the pita bread to cook quickly and evenly, whereas the cookie sheet does not.
Note: As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can also be mixed by hand as well.
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 package active dry yeast)
1 tablespoon honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚- 115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 1/4 cup of the whole wheat flour into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 ¼ cups bread flour, and 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
Form dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Set an oven rack in middle of the oven. Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat oven to 500°F.
Transfer to a lightly floured work surface once the dough has risen. Punch down the dough and cut into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal (on parchment paper). Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto the baking stone. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer pitas to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Gourmet (May 2003)