Back in January, I resolved this year would be the year I figure out sourdough bread baking. Six months later, and my sourdough starter is still going strong. If anything, the warmer weather has made it more active and flavorful. I feel like I have begun to master my sandwich bread recipe and I’m getting more and more adventurous with other types of sourdough bread, including sourdough whole wheat pita bread.
Pita and hummus have been one of my favorite snacks since high school. I savor and devour the pillowy bread at Mediterranean restaurants, perfect for dipping into ethereally creamy platters of hummus. It’s a satisfying snack to the appetite that running brings, providing complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats all in one delicious snack. The only problem is not eating the entire thing.
I make hummus at home often, trying out various recipes until I find the perfect one (so far, my favorite is this one from Mark Bittman), but I don’t always make my own pita – even though fresh-out-of-the-oven bread always tastes better than something that shipped from factory to store and sat on the shelves for a few days. There are no refined or weird preservatives in this sourdough whole wheat pita bread recipe.
Making pita bread at home is a longer process, but as with many bread recipes, you’re not actively cooking the whole time. A majority of the time is when the yeast does its work. I’ll sometimes squeeze in a Pilates workout as the dough rests before kneading and work or run errands as it rises. The only hands-on time comes with kneading and later with shaping and baking the pitas. Even if the recipe demands more time than normal bread, the finished product is well worth the effort when you sink your teeth into this tangy and fluffy bread.
The end result is a sourdough whole wheat pita bread that is chewy, flavorful, and nutritious. The sourdough starter adds a mild hint of tanginess that pairs so well with Mediterranean dishes. You can use it for sandwiches, as a side to a salad (such as this one), or as a dipper along with fresh vegetables for hummus.
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- ½ tsp maple syrup or honey
- 6 oz. lukewarm water
- 4 oz. sourdough starter*
- 8 oz. (2 cups) whole wheat flour
- 2 oz. (½ cup) bread flour (plus more for rolling)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for rising)
- Stir together the yeast, maple syrup, and water and let the yeast bloom for 5-10 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast-water mixture, sourdough starter, flours, salt, and olive oil. Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Using your hands or the dough hook of your stand mixer, knead the dough for 2 minutes. Let rest for 10 more minutes, and then knead for 2 minutes again. The dough should be soft and pliable. If the dough is too sticky, add in more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and knead until smooth.
- Lightly coat the mixing bowl with a small amount of olive oil, place the dough in the bowl, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit and place a baking pan on the bottom rack.
- Meanwhile, roll the dough into a log and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a firm and smooth ball and cover with a damp towel until the oven reaches temperature.
- Roll out the dough balls into 6-8 inch rounds on a floured surface. The exact diameter will depend on how much your dough rose; aim for about ⅛ inch in thickness, as too thin will yield a crispy flatbread rather than a pita.
- Bake each dough round individually in the oven for 2 minutes and then flip and cook for 1 minute. The pitas should puff during the first 2 minutes of baking and be lightly golden brown by the end of the final minute. Remove from the oven and let cooling on a baking rack.
- Store in an airtight container or bread bag for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- *Your starter can be freshly fed or discard. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, you can increase the yeast to 1 tablespoon, increase the whole wheat flour to 10 ounces, and increase the water to 8 ounces.
What’s your favorite type of dip?