Whole Wheat Pitas, Made at Home

January 18, 2013

Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today, Becky Rosenthal of Vintage Mixer shares a whole wheat pita recipe that's bound to please the whole family.

There’s just something about making something completely from scratch that indescribably satisfies the at-home chef. While I've made my share of kitchen disasters, what keeps me cooking is the prideful moments of success -- like when I made homemade cannoli for the first time, or when a friend and I created our own Limoncello from scratch. Making your own bread definitely creates one of those moments in the kitchen when you really feel like you've accomplished something great. Pita bread is the perfect start in homemade bread-making. After making these pita pockets, you'll be moving on to homemade challah and braided sweet rolls in no time!

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The recipe is quite simple and only takes about an hour. There are 4 steps in the process of making pita bread –- assembling the ingredients, forming and dividing the dough, rolling out dough into flat circles and letting it rise, then baking the dough. Then, magically, the little flat pancake-like rounds puff into perfectly round pitas. Then the only hard part is deciding what tasty ingredients to fill them with.

We ate the pitas filled with warm lamb meat balls and muhammara; a tasty walnut red pepper spread.

Here are some more ideas for using them:

• Slice them into wedges and dip into hummus or muhammara

• Make a sandwich with turkey or ham and veggies

• Fill with falafel or black bean burger patties
• Re-warm them in the oven and cover with honey, cinnamon and sugar for dessert
Once you make them, you’ll be finding all kinds of uses for them. Believe me -- they won’t be left around the kitchen long.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Makes 8 medium-sized pitas

1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in water for about 5 minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer. Watch for yeast to bubble up, which will show that it's active.

Add salt and half of the flour, and beat with a dough hook to create a dough. Add additional flour until a rough, shaggy mass is formed. Knead for 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour if it is too sticky.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8 balls for medium-sized pita bread.

Form dough into balls, then flatten with a rolling pin into ¼ inch thick discs. Try and keep an even thickness as this is what helps them "puff".

Let rest on the floured surface 30 to 40 minutes until slightly puffed. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

With a large spatula, flip the rounds of dough upside down on to a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until light golden. Stick around to watch for the first five minutes of baking when the pitas perform their magic and puff up from flat pancakes to proud, four-inch-high pitas!

Note: Because you're using whole wheat flour, you may need more water. If you decide to use all-purpose flour for the whole recipe, use 1/2 cup more flour than the recipe calls for.

Save and print the recipe here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Crissi Bariatti
    Crissi Bariatti
  • Hiromi Motojima
    Hiromi Motojima
  • Shanaralane
  • Danielle Gregorio
    Danielle Gregorio
  • bugawa
I romanticize my grandmother’s era. Perhaps I’m a victim of Golden Age thinking, but I think she could teach our era how to host a party, warm up a room, welcome strangers, cook for them and strike up a meaningful conversation. We could better learn from her how to sit down, eat and enjoy each other. The heart of Vintage Mixer is about a meal, a table and a conversation.


Crissi B. March 3, 2013
Fantastic recipe. My first time making pitas & they came out perfect! What is the best way to store these? Freezer for long-term?
Hiromi M. February 10, 2013
I don't east wheat flour... I can easily replace all purpose flour with gluten free flour. What can I replace pastry flour with?
Shanaralane February 1, 2013
Perfect recipe. The pitas were soft and delicious even after two days stored in a plastic baggie.
Danielle G. January 29, 2013
Anyone tried using spelt, quinoa, or chickpea flour? Would the measurements be the same? How about adding herbs and such? I made these last night, and while good, the flavor was a bit blah, so I thought I'd experiment...
bugawa January 23, 2013
Success!! My first success at making puffy pitas after several previous attempts...thank you for a wonderful recipe!
Rima January 21, 2013
Can't wait to try these tomorrow! By the way, I love your rolling pin.....
david L. January 21, 2013
hi there, are you using instant yeast, active dry?...
emcsull January 20, 2013
so if I want to make them by hand, no machines, any input ?
Meghann C. January 20, 2013
Kneading by hand just takes longer usually, but the nice thing about it is that your arms will fall off before you over-knead it. Count on about twice as long. You need the heat from your hands and the friction of the stretching of the gluten molecules to bring the temp of the dough up to about 77 degrees. At that point your gluten molecules will be so lovely and smooth and elastic that you'll know it's ready. You should be able to stretch your dough out a good bit without it breaking. Whole wheat doughs though are not as silky smooth and stretchy as plain white. When you start kneading, stretching the dough will cause it to break/tear. That will gradually go away. When you feel like your arms are about to give out, you are probably very close to done. Don't stop too soon though, you'll lose that heat, and it'll take even longer. Having a warm house and countertop helps too :)
rcakewalk January 20, 2013
I've always made pita that rose first, then was formed and baked...I'm anxious to try letting them rise after forming! Thanks for that!
Michael M. January 19, 2013
I have made a number of different pita recipes, often with frustrating results, finding the bottom side perfectly thick enough for sandwich ingredients, while the top side is so thin, that the sandwich ingredients break through. I was wondering if you encountered the same problem. The stuffed pita in the photo looks perfect...were they all as good?

AniQuadros January 18, 2013
I can't wait! Thank you so much for such an easy and yet important recipe, at least to me because I eat whole wheat Pitas all the time. Thank you.
AniQuadros January 18, 2013
Can't wait! Thank you
Hilarybee January 18, 2013
I bet spelt would make a really good pita. I think I'll give it a try.
AmyW January 18, 2013
Will unbleached AP or pastry flour work as well? My husband won't eat whole wheat bread products and we love pitas! This looks so easy that I can't wait to make them.
AmyW January 18, 2013
Ooops, nevermind. Just read the end of the recipe, so have my answer. Great recipe!
hardlikearmour January 18, 2013
Have you tried using the white whole wheat flour on him?
Sasha (. January 18, 2013
Beautiful... btw, homemade pita on the grill is one of summertime's best delights.
Rhonda35 March 24, 2013
Yum! That's a great idea, Sasha.