Pitas…with Pockets!

I have had a love affair with hummus going on a decade now. I’ve made white bean hummus, garbanzo bean hummus, red pepper hummus, and black bean hummus. I had been buying Sabra hummus for a while and decided now was the time to make the switch back to homemade. And to be honest, I don’t know why I ever stopped! With just a few simple ingredients and a food processor, you have delicious hummus in no time at all, and with no GMOs at all either.

Kaitlyn & Sylvia

But what is hummus without a pita? I love pitas and flatbreads. I had been buying a flaxseed flatbread at the store, until recently flipping over the package to discover 15+ ingredients. So I began the hunt for a recipe I thought I could follow, and I quickly found this one a few weeks ago and decided this was the weekend to give it a go. I was doubtful that my efforts would lead to fluffy, pocket-filled pitas, so imagine my surprise when these pitas puffed right up AND, in fact, produced pockets. And better yet? They were SO easy to make. Don’t believe me? Just ask Kaitlyn and Sylvia. They stopped by the house just in time to watch the pita-making magic. I met Kaitlyn after seeing a blog post she wrote about the theatre a few years back. She’s now a neighbor of mine and today was the first time I got to meet her beautiful baby Sylvia. I have a feeling Sylvia will be in the kitchen and covered in flour very soon, too!

Back to the pitas. I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course!), but wanted to share with you some of the things I learned along the way. I have found it challenging to read so many baking recipes that say things such as “add in 3 or 4 cups of dough” (until what happens??), or “add water if your dough is shaggy” (like the Scooby Doo character??). So I’m here to share with you what I know and have learned and can hopefully help demystify all this baking stuff for you.

Whole Wheat Pitas (with Pockets!)
(Recipe shared from Scordo.com)

Makes 6 pitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. water
  • 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (I use this kind and store it in the fridge)
  • 3 C. whole wheat flour (I use Central Milling Company’s Organic Stone-Ground Whole Wheat Flour)
  • 1/2 t. salt

Directions (with some of my own modifications):

Dissolve yeast in one cup of warm water (100-110 degrees) until creamy, 5-10 minutes

dissolve yeast

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the whole wheat flour and salt

Whisk flour

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and pour in the yeast/water mixture. Stir until combined, and add flour if too moist or warm water if too shaggy. You are looking to form a stiff dough. (The first image below is dough I determined to be “shaggy”, and therefore added more water to get a stiffer dough, as seen in the second image. In the end, I think my dough was just a little too sticky and would have benefited from a sprinkling more of flour.)

shaggy dough

combined dough

Knead the dough in your mixer (or on a floured surface) until the dough is elastic and smooth, about 10 minutes.

kneading the dough

Place a little oil (I used extra virgin olive oil) in the bottom of a bowl, put the dough in the bowl, and then cover with plastic wrap or a moist towel. Let it rise in a warm area until doubled in size – about an hour (I use my oven trick – preheat the oven to the lowest temp, and then turn the oven off, open the door a little to release some of the hot air and then put the bowl in the oven).

risen dough

Punch down the dough and divide into six balls on a floured surface. Cover each ball with plastic wrap or a moist towel and allow the dough balls to rest for 15 minutes.

cutting dough

dough balls in plastic wrap

While the dough is resting, pre-heat your oven to 475 degrees and place two cookie sheets (a large rectangular cookie sheet should hold three pitas, so use two if your oven can fit them) upside down on the bottom rack of the oven. The cookie sheets need to be very hot when you put the dough on them.

Using your hand or a rolling pin, gently roll the dough into six inch circles on a floured surface. Be gentle with the dough – any tears or creases or stretched areas will upset the pita form.

rolling out the pitas

Place 3 circles on one of your piping hot cookie sheets (leaving the other on the bottom rack to keep it hot) and pop them in the oven for five or six minutes till they look like they’re about to explode.

baking pitas

Remove the pitas from the oven and lay them on a terry cloth towel, one stacked upon the next, covering with another towel to keep them soft as they cool. They will stay very warm and moist in the towels. Repeat with the next 3 pitas.

hot out of the oven

wrapped up in towels

Once they’re cool, you can keep them at room temperature for about a week or more depending on conditions, or freeze them for up to six months. Pita stores very well and can be warmed again before serving if desired.

pocket pitas

Look! They have pockets!

The pitas were delicious! And very filling. We made chicken gyros with whole pitas for dinner, but I would probably just use a half pita for lunch and fill it with hummus and veggies.

Notes for Next Time

I always like to tell you what I would have done differently to help make this recipe even easier and more successful the next time around. I actually incorporated some changes into the directions above, but one note I would add: I should have been a little more judicious in adding water to my “shaggy” dough. I had actually added a little too much at one point and had to add more flour, which equals more calories for the same number of servings. Add just a little at a time, stir and see if your dough comes together to form a nice stiff dough. Pita perfection!

Nutrition information: 6 servings. Each serving has 245 calories, 1 g of fat, 11 g of protein, and 10 g of fiber.

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10 thoughts on “Pitas…with Pockets!

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  7. hmmm, just taking mine out of the over and they have multiple bubbles throughout them but not one big bubble like yours… :/ wonder where I went wrong?

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    • So the first batch I made all puffed perfectly. The second and third batches both puffed unevenly. I think it’s all about the gently rolling. Press too hard and the dough doesn’t have enough give in it to separate and puff. That’s my guess – but you may have a theory, too! At least mine still tasted good without the pockets. How did yours taste?

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      • tasted just fine! I was able to still cut them open to pockets mostly, I will try them again. I too was thinking maybe I rolled them too hard… hmmmm

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