Pita bread – though one of the easiest breads to make (I now know) – was a mystery to me. How on earth was I going to get that pocket in there? Turns out the magic happens in the oven, without you even asking. It’s very cool to watch the flat rounds of dough puff up. The jumping off recipe for this came from Epicurious. I upped the whole wheat flour, omitted the olive oil, and added flaxseeds (because they look great) and dried thyme for that nice warm, summery flavor they impart.

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How to Make Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Serves

8

Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tsp.  agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105–115°F)
  • 2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. flaxseeds, optional
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme, optional
  • 1 tsp. salt
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Preparation

  1. Stir together yeast, agave nectar, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. While yeast mixture does its thing, stir together flours in another bowl. Whisk 1/2 cup flour mixture 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.  Stir in salt, flaxseeds, thyme, remaining warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until dough forms.
  3. 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 lightly oiled bowl, turning 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.
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Punch down dough and cut into 8 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 rolling pin. Transfer round to one of the baking sheets.  Make 7 more rounds in the same manner, arranging them on baking sheets.  Loosely cover pitas with clean kitchen towels (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  5. Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  6. Transfer 4 pitas, one at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a wire rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm. Bake remaining 4 pitas in same manner.  Serve warm.  These freeze very well when wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in freezer bags.
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