“What? Another Greek pita bread recipe? One of the zillions floating around the web? No thanks!” Before you walk away, THINK for a second. This is a food blog specializing in traditional Greek food. In Greece, we take pita bread very seriously, and, believe me, I am not going to share another boring, bland pita bread recipe but the best traditional Greek whole-wheat pita bread you have ever made. Simple ingredients, perfect texture, supreme flavor, and a healthier version.
THE AMAZING GREEK PITA BREAD
From this day on, you will have the right to call yourself a Greek pita bread expert. It’s such an easy and almost fool-proof recipe that everyone -and I mean EVERYONE – can make. Invite your kids to join you because it is fun too especially the rolling part and all this messy play with flour (don’t freak out, you will clean later).
The grand finale! Watching the dough bubble up and blow up like a balloon.
I have to warn you though. You won’t enjoy store-bought pitas anymore and maybe you will be somehow disappointed with pita bread from your favorite Greek restaurant. Because you are so going to LOVE all about your homemade Greek pita bread.
BEFORE THE RECIPE …
…first thing first. I am talking about the traditional Greek pita bread meaning THE ONE WITHOUT the big pocket but the one with charred little cute air pockets instead.
Basically, Greek pita bread is a flatbread and that’s the end of the story.
For sure, souvlaki is the most popular way to use up the traditional Greek pita bread but this is an entirely new post, guys.
In Greek, we love pita bread and we use it as a wrap or torn into pieces for dipping either in hummus or whipped feta. or tzatziki or eggplant dip (melitzanosalata) or served with ladera (vegetables simmered in a luscious tomato-olive oil sauce) like briami (roasted vegetables), cabbage stew (lahanorizo), stuffed vegetables (gemista) or …. ok somebody stop me, please. In a few words, pita bread is served EVERYWHERE and paired with EVERYTHING. I keep my mouth shut and talk no more.
GREEK PITA BREAD: THE RECIPE
THE FLOUR: WHY WHOLE WHEAT?
The Mediterranean way of eating features grains consumed in whole meaning in minimally-processed form. You know, the way our ancestors used to enjoy their bread made from scratch with 100% natural ingredients. Making this simple swap from refined to whole-grain foods can have huge benefits for your health! Consequently, this whole wheat pita is a highly nutritious bread, an excellent source of protein, and fiber while containing minimal fat.
However, in order to get a perfect chewy texture, we are going to use hard flour (also called bread flour and strong flour) as well. Higher amounts of protein from this flour will produce gluten that will give the dough elasticity and the characteristic soft and chewy texture. That’s why this recipe calls for half whole heat and half hard/bread/strong flour.
DURUM or SEMOLINA FLOUR
Durum or semolina flour for rolling the dough is perfect for one very important reason. This flour’s texture is heavier and coarser than most milled flours. It won’t absorb the moisture of the dough for sure and won’t make the dough hard enough to roll. That’s how our pitas remain soft and chewy as the traditional Greek pita bread should be. I highly recommend this step, especially for whole-wheat pita bread. It makes all the difference.
We simply need a smooth but hard dough. Follow the instructions and add little water ONLY if the dough is too sticky. Don’t over-knead the dough. If it is smooth enough, let it double its size and gluten will do the rest for you.
Follow my instructions and don’t skip any ingredient. For example, if you don’t add vinegar, you won’t get the perfect elasticity I have already promised. Then, don’t put the blame on the poor blogger, please.
If you don’t want to use the dough right away, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it overnight in the fridge. The following day, the dough is ready for rolling.
It’s important to roll your pita bread dough out thin because a thick dough will result in dense and heavy pita bread. Unless you like thick pitas and you want them to look puffy. Totally fine by me. It’s your game.
THE PITA BREAD SIZE
You got two choices here. Either you simply roll out your pitas and throw them into the skillet or you shape them using a round cutter, a plate, etc. I usually make 2 different sizes that cover all my needs: mini bread pitas about 6 inches (15cm) and large 8 inches (20cm).
It has to be super extra hot because that’s how you will watch little pockets of air puffing instantly as soon as the dough touches the skillet. Plus, you will get the toasted spots that I adore and that’s an indication of a well-cooked pita bread. At least for my cooking standards. I have used both an iron cast skillet and a nonstick one and I got to tell you the iron cast skillet gives tastier and crunchier toasted bottoms. However, whatever skillet you use, it has to be really really (have I said really?) hot.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
My whole wheat bread and pita bread are my most treasured staple all year long.
As I have already posted, I make 2 loaves of whole wheat homemade bread once per week, I freeze one loaf and that’s how the bread served in my home is always fresh, delicious, and healthy.
I do the same for my pita bread. Once or twice per month, along with my bread, I prepare my pitas. I keep some fresh pitas in the fridge and I freeze the rest of them. Simply toss in freezer bags the quantity you usually serve. For example, I freeze and serve 2 large pitas or 4 mini pitas which is the portion I serve for one day. Leave the freezer bag as it is on the countertop until thawed and in a few minutes you are going to have delicious, homemade pita bread whenever you want.
I should definitely mention here that this dough for pita bread is excellent for pies as well. In case I have plenty of vegetables and cheese in the fridge, I make variations of this mini pies recipe. It is so easy to make and delicious that it is worth every single step. I prepare my mini pies while my pita dough is proofing and I bake the mini pies while I finish my pitas on the stovetop. Does it sound complicated? Well, it may be a little bit at the beginning but it will be getting easier each time. Promise!
MY GREEK PITA BREAD IS READY! NOW, WHAT?
Do your thing. You deserve it. Eat your pita straight out from the skillet as I do (what? No? Come on, why not?). It is so tempting. So hard to wait until they’ve reached the table!
Serve alongside your favorite Greek dishes, with grilled meats, salads, with dips like hummus, whipped feta. Season with herbs and spices and serve the perfect substitute for bread that will amaze everyone. I have to warn you again, guys! Your clan is going to ask for more and you have to be a step ahead.
If you have already made this Greek pita bread, I would be super grateful to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #30daysofgreekfood and Facebook with @30daysofgreekfood! Above all, I absolutely love your feedback. This is a huge motivation for me and it keeps 30daysofgreekfood’s kitchen alive. Thank you so much!!!
Credits: The pita bread recipe is not mine. I have to thank mamangelic one of the best Greek food bloggers, nutritionists, and an excellent photographer. Thank you, mamangelic, for this wonderful recipe amongst many others. We have enjoyed countless meals with this homemade pita bread thanks to you.
Greek Whole Wheat Pita Bread
- 4 cups (500g) whole-wheat flour
- 4 cups (500g) hard (bread) flour unbleached
- 2 teaspoons vinegar or apple cider
- 1 ⅔ tablespoon (15g) active dry or instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons (40g) honey
- 2 teaspoons (14g) salt
- 2 ½ cups (600ml) warm water + ½ cup for yeast dissolving
- Durum or semolina flour for rolling
- Olive oil for the pan
- Dissolve yeast and honey in ½ cup warm water. It needs about 5 minutes to activate.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients (water, water with yeast and honey, vinegar, salt, flour). Knead the dough in the bowl for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth. Add very small amounts of extra hard flour if the dough is extremely sticky. Alternatively, knead the dough at medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment about 5 minutes. Don’t over knead it.
- Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise (double its size) in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- When the dough has doubled, punch it down and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Use durum or semolina flour for rolling. Divide the dough into equal balls (about 13 for large pitas and 25 for mini pitas).
- Roll each piece into a circle, no more than ¼ inch thick taking care not to tear the dough and keeping the thickness even all around. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Use a round cutter or just a plate to cut into even pieces and get neat edges (optional).
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Place each piece and cook for about one minute. Several air pockets puff up. Be careful not to burn it because the skillet is extremely hot. Flip and cook for another 1 minute. Remove from the skillet and wrap in a kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest of the dough wrapped in a kitchen towel until cold.
- Keep your pitas stored in a food container for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.