For a long time, pita bread was one of those things I thought must be made with yeast. I didn’t think about it. I just assumed so because I had never come across with a pita recipe that used a sourdough starter.

This weekend, I proved myself wrong.

Sourdough works great with pita, as does wholegrain flour. So, next time you crave for some pita with falafel or kebab, go for it and make some yourself. Watching the flatbreads puff up in the oven is always exciting, in an almost childlike way.

Sourdough Pita with Freshly Milled Emmer

Recently, with the help of Mockmill, a great stone mill attachment for KitchenAid-compatible mixers, I have been diving into home milling.

I’m excited about the journey in exploring different grains and just-in-time milled flours. But if you can’t mill your own or don’t have emmer at hand, feel free to replace the flour with wholegrain wheat or spelt. Whatever you have at hand. I’m sure it’ll be great too.

Formula

  • 500g freshly milled wholegrain emmer flour
  • 350g water
  • 10g salt
  • 100g ripe sourdough starter

Method

Compared to many other breads, making pita bread is quite simple (that’s not to say it can’t go wrong, though). It’s basically a flatbread, and so you aren’t trying to create beautiful irregular holes in the crumb or a beautiful crust.

The most important part is rolling out the breads and making sure they don’t stick to your table as that can prevent the bread from puffing up in the oven.

But now, let’s give it a try!

  1. (optional) Mill the flour at the finest setting in your mill to get a nice, soft wholegrain flour. You can’t usually find flour this fine in stores, but if you don’t have a mill, any whole grain wheat flour will do.
  2. Add the water and mix until no dry lumps of flour remain.
  3. Leave the dough to rest for a 30-minute autolyse period, covered.
  4. Add the sourdough (mine is at 100% hydration: equal amounts water and flour). Mix it in, then do some slap and folds on the table.
  5. Return the dough to the bowl and let rest for 30 minutes before adding the salt.
  6. Add the salt, do a couple more minutes of slap and folds, then return the dough to the bowl.
  7. Cover the bowl and leave to rest at room temperature for about two hours. The dough doesn’t have to rise to its full size to make a good pita bread, so you can be rather relaxed about this.
  8. Flip the dough on a floured table, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
  9. Cover the shaped pieces of dough and let them rest while you preheat your oven to 250°C (482°F).
  10. One at a time, flatten the pita breads by tapping on them with your hand. Make sure to use enough flour so the balls don’t stick to the table (sticking can lead to them not puffing in the oven). Then use a rolling pin to roll them to approximately 4-5 mm round discs.
  11. Slide the discs on a hot baking stone, two at the time. Bake for five minutes while enjoying them puff like balloons!
  12. Cool the pitas on a wire rack, but covered with a kitchen towel so they don’t dry out.

Enjoy with some falafel or kebab, salad, and some nice yoghurt sauce. Or any way you like to eat your pita.