Whole Grain Sourdough Pita

This sourdough pita is made with whole grain and packs plenty of healthful goodness, thanks to sourdough starter along with whole wheat and spelt flours. And it’s easier to make than you may think.

One whole and one torn whole grain sourdough pita stacked on top of each other.

My first experience with pita bread was that of confusion, as I was under the impression I was about to eat a tortilla. Then, my friend took a knife and sliced through the bread to expose a perfectly hollow interior. Soon, mixed greens, meats, and veggies were stuffed into it and a little bit of oil and vinegar was drizzled on top. As I got older, however, I realized how normal and abundant pita bread is. You can find it everywhere, and for good reason. It is a light bread that is designed specifically to hold various fillings. At the same time, you can also rip warm pita to bits and dip it into delicious spreads such as hummus. Adding whole grains and sourdough starter was an obvious choice to add to my repertoire and I can’t wait for you to try this version.–Bryan Ford

Whole Grain Sourdough Pita

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • 1 D
  • Makes 8 pita
Print RecipeBuy the New World Sourdough cookbook

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Ingredients

  • For the levain
  • For the sourdough pita

Directions

Build the levain

In a tall jar or medium bowl, mix the mature starter, flour, and warm water until incorporated. Cover with a lid or clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, 3 to 5 hours. You can use your levain immediately, or refrigerate it for up to 12 hours to use later or the next day.

Make the sourdough pita

In a large bowl, mix the flours, water, levain, and salt. Using your hands, squeeze everything together and then turn the dough out onto a work surface.

Knead the dough using the palm of your hand to push it forward, and then your fingers to pull it backtoward your hand. Repeat this process until you have a smooth surface, 5 to 8 minutes. Don’t be afraid to rip this dough while you knead with your palm and then bring it back together again.

Cover the dough with a bowl or plastic wrap and let ferment at room temperature for 6 hours.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and pat each dough piece down flat. Take 2 opposing corners and bring them to the middle. Take the other 2 corners and do the same. You can repeat this until the dough is too tight to repeat anymore and there are no more corners.

Flip the dough upside-down and use the palm of your hands, on the side of the dough, to tighten the dough gently with a circular motion. Make sure you don’t tear the dough on the surface, as this will affect the quality of the baked bread. Repeat with remaining pieces.

Gently coat each ball of dough with oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 12 hours.

Place a cast iron skillet, pizza stone, or baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F (250°C) for at least 30 minutes.

Flour your work surface. Place a ball of dough on it and, using a rolling pin, roll into a very thin circle, about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Working in batches, place your pitas onto the skillet, pizza stone, or baking sheet and bake until puffed and nice even brown spots appear, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pita and bake until golden, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Tester tip: If you find it tricky to transfer the sourdough pita to the oven, place them on parchment and slide the parchment directly onto your skillet, pizza stone, or baking sheet.

The pitas are best enjoyed shortly after making as they will firm as they cool.

Print RecipeBuy the New World Sourdough cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This was a really fun, satisfying recipe. I think it would be a great one to do with kids that are beginning to show an interest in cooking and baking. Hands down, these sourdough pita are delicious. I love that there's a mix of crackery crispness and light chewiness. I love how dramatic looking they are with their giant puffy pocket that reminds me of some kind of sea creature. The tang of the sourdough really comes through after the cold fermentation in the fridge, but the whole grains balance the tang with a nutty sweetness. I would imagine that this taste is fairly authentic to the way pita would have tasted when they first started being made 1000s of years ago, since they would have been made with wild yeast starter and ancient varieties of wheat like einkorn, spelt, and emmer.

I rolled my dough balls out into 11-inch (28-cm) circles that were about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick, so they were pretty large (I think maybe larger than the ones on the photo by about an inch, but because the recipe specified *very thin* I took it at its word). It's not easy to transfer a floppy 11-inch piece of dough onto a 500-degree pizza stone with your bare hands. So the first one stuck to itself just a bit and didn't puff up quite as much as the others. Also, because my dough circles were 11 inches, I could only bake one at a time. This turned out to be fine since there were only four dough balls, (I actually think these could easily be divided into 8 balls; they would still be a nice individual size for fillings and they'd be much easier to handle). With the remaining circles I got smart and placed them on parchment after they were rolled out which made transferring to the pizza stone MUCH easier.

Mine were in for a total of 8 minutes (flipped them after 4 minutes) and had nice golden brown spots but still retained some chew.

I'm doing a keto diet right now to preemptively attempt to get myself a bit more sleek before the holidays, but these pitas, hot and puffy right out of the oven, proved to be irresistible and busted me right out of ketosis. Let me just say, it was worth it!

These sourdough pita are tasty and the instructions for building the dough are simple, easy and clear.

It took 4 hours for my starter to double and I used it immediately. After mixing the flours, levain, water, ,and salt, I kneaded the dough for 3 minutes, and then left it for 20 minutes. Then I returned to knead again for another 3 minutes or so. I did this because it allowed the flours to absorb the water more fully and there was already more smooth elasticity to the dough when I returned for the second kneading.

When it came time to divide the dough, I realized that 4 pieces would mean the pitas were about the size of a quarter of an entire loaf of bread- which seemed pretty aggressive to me. So I divided into 6 balls and shaped. It took only 1 minute for each shaping.

For baking I used a pizza stone, which I preheated for an hour at 500°F. I rolled the first ball into a massive and very thin circle as instructed and it was still too large in my mind for true pita... more like a 12 inch pizza! I baked it anyway for 3 minutes and flipped it for 30 seconds to brown. It puffed magnificently! For the remaining dough balls I decided to split them each into quarters. So I ended up with less perfectly round pitas, but they still puffed beautiful and were more like 6 inches in diameter. It took 2 minutes and 30 seconds to cook them, and I was able to put in pairs of 2 at a time on the large pizza stone.

The aroma and flavor are just amazing from these breads. They are beautiful fresh out of the oven and soft. I froze the remaining pitas and will defrost them for future enjoyment by wrapping them in a hot damp kitchen towel to steam them into softness—they did harden up once cool, which I believe is to do with how thinly I rolled them. In the future, I will try rolling them slightly thicker and might make 18 instead of 22. I will also divide up the balls into that many pieces before the cold fermentation in the fridge for better-rounded shapes!

I think it could reasonably make 18 pita that were rolled a touch thicker if preferred.

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