Friday, October 1, 2010

Whole Wheat Pita

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, which is why you don’t see a lot of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, or other sweets like that on my blog. I really only bake those types of things for special occasions or when I can pass them off to friends or classmates. But I do have a carb-tooth. Bread baskets and chip baskets at restaurants stand no chance of not being demolished. My favorite part of pizza is the crust. I prefer bagels to doughnuts and used to be able to happily eat plain white rice. Don’t even get me started on pasta.

When I first started to eat more healthfully leading up to our wedding, the first things that had to be drastically cut back were simple carbs and cheese. We’ll talk about my love of cheese another time. But as my friend Max once said, “Life without margaritas and simple carbs is not worth living.” So I started to trade in those processed white carbohydrate-sources for whole wheat versions. Now I crave the nuttiness of brown rice (wish it didn’t take so long to cook!) and the heft of whole wheat pasta.

Recently I discovered and started using King Arthur Flour’s white whole wheat flour. I can have the health benefits of whole wheat with the silky lightness and color of white flours? Yes, please. So I promise that I’m not lying to you when I tell you that these are whole wheat. If you can’t find white whole wheat flour, these would still be delicious with regular whole wheat flour; you just won’t be able to sneak the whole grains past people quite as easily.

We used these pitas as a base for chicken gyros, which are, as I realized last night, the Greek version of chicken fajitas, and that’s probably why Joe likes them so much. Today I’m looking forward to dipping them in the rest of the tzatziki sauce and some hummus or maybe as the base for one of my old boarding school standbys, provolone melted over mushrooms. This will definitely be my go-to pita recipe from now on!


Whole Wheat Pita
source: Annie’s Eats
Yields 8 pita

2 ¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1 ¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1 ½ cups bread flour, divided
1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

In a clean bowl, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap and add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1 ¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead by hand on a lightly-floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500˚ F.

Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface.  (Note: These can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks.  I use a pizza stone, but either method is fine.) Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.