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Whole-Wheat Pita Bread
(recipe, Carrie Floyd)
Though there are plenty of perfectly good packaged pita breads, there's nothing like fresh-out-of-the-oven pita — especially whole wheat, which tends to go stale pretty fast once packaged. This recipe, adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, yields an easy and pleasing dough to work with. Store leftover balls of dough (individually wrapped) in the freezer, then thaw and cook to order.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 envelope (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1½ tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup wheat bran
- 1½ cups spelt or whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (you'll need more for dusting the counter and possibly working into the dough)
- Mix the water and milk together and warm in a small saucepan or the microwave. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast and honey; set aside for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
- Stir in the salt and olive oil, then, with a large spoon, stir in the wheat bran and spelt (or whole-wheat) flour until smooth. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, in ⅓-cup increments, and stir until smooth.
- Measure out another cup of all-purpose flour to work in while kneading; set it aside. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding just enough flour from the measured cup to keep the dough from sticking horribly to your hands, about 5 minutes. The dough will be smooth and a little bit sticky; if it's too sticky, knead in a bit more flour.
- Rinse and dry the mixing bowl, then add about a teaspoon of oil to the bowl; with your hands, spread the oil over the inside surface of the bowl. Place the dough into the oiled bowl, cover with a light towel, and set in a warm place until it doubles in size, about an hour.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into 8 to 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then cover the balls with a barely damp towel to rest.
- Place a baking or pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 475 degrees. While the oven preheats and the dough rests, take a few minutes to put everything away and clean up, except for the floured counter. If you're not going to cook all the pita, wrap the extra balls in plastic wrap to store in the fridge or freezer.
- Roll each ball into a disc about ¼-inch thick. Place the breads directly on the baking stone and bake about 3 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned. Serve immediately, wrapped in a towel to keep warm.