Whole Wheat Pita Pockets
Soft whole wheat round breads with a pocket inside!
8 whole pita pockets (or 16 halves)
1 1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup gluten*
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1. In a large bowl, combine first 4 ingredients. Add the gluten and 1 cup of the flour, along with the yeast, and stir to mix. Add remaining flour and knead to make a soft dough. (Add additional flour if necessary during kneading.)
Alternately, if you have a bread machine, you can put the ingredients in the pan in the order listed and use the dough cycle. Skip to step 3 if using your bread machine! :)
2. Put your dough into a bowl, lightly oil the top, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise, until almost double (about an hour). I like to turn my oven on for a minute or two, then turn it off, and let the dough rise in there, since our house is cool.
3. Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 6- or 7-inch circle.
4. As you roll the rounds, set them aside on a lightly floured countertop or table, and cover loosely with a towel. Let rise for about 25-35 minutes, until slightly puffy. (The rounds will still be thin though! :D)
5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place 2 rounds, side-by-side, onto a wire rack, such as is used for cooling things. Place rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 4-5 minutes, until puffy and just slightly browned. (If bread is too browned, it will be dry and not pliable.)
6. Remove rack from oven and immediately wrap/layer pita breads in a damp towel, to soften. Continue baking the remaining breads, layering them between damp towels as soon as they're baked. Allow breads to completely cool.
7. Cut pita breads in half, or split the top edge, and fill as desired. :)
8. Store pitas in a plastic zipper bag in the fridge for a few days, or place in the freezer for longer storage. To re-warm pitas, wrap them in a damp towel and then wrap in foil. Place in a warm (200-250 degree) oven for about 20 minutes.
*May use whole wheat bread flour in place of the whole wheat flour and gluten.
30-45 minutes (faster using bread machine!)
These are a deliciously soft, hearty whole wheat pita bread! Joshua and I prefer this whole wheat version of pita bread, which is heartier and healthier than the regular pita pockets. (Though I must say, the regular ones are really super good, too!!)
Pita pockets are surprisingly easy to make, and these homemade ones are so much better than the typical ones in your grocery store.
First, the flavor. Truly, nothing beats fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread when it comes to flavor, and these pita breads are no exception. When they're still warm from baking, I love to eat them just plain!
Secondly, the texture and durability. These pockets are soft inside, but hold together very well. Provided that you haven't over-baked them (4 minutes is great in our oven; 5 minutes is almost too long!), they will open without cracking. The edges don't split. The pocket inside is HUGE. You can stuff them or fill them or do whatever you want with them, because they aren't really fragile.
I have never really enjoyed pita pockets from the store, because they seemed to fall apart so easily, and not much filling would fit inside... so it felt like I was eating mostly bread. The store-bought ones I've had were also drier and not nearly so soft and pliable as my homemade ones. There is really no comparison between homemade pita pockets and the cheap ones from the store!! :)
As a side note, my children loved watching these bake in the oven. After a minute or two, the round flat pita breads start to puff up, and you can see them quickly expanding into a round ball of air! When they come out of the oven, they are like balls! After a few minutes of cooling between damp towels, the pitas flatten into soft breads with a big pocket inside. :)
My rating: 10/10