2 and a 1/2 cups of tepid water (25-30 degrees Celsius)
2 and a 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon of salt
1 and a half tablespoons of olive oil
2 and a 1/2 to 3 and a 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Whole wheat pita bread. In Egypt, we use it with everything. It’s always on the table and is baked fresh every day in millions of bakeries all over the country. Living abroad made me strive to find a good recipe. This one was great!
1Stir the yeast and water together in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon and stirring in one direction, add the whole wheat flour, about a cup at a time; then stir 100 times, or until the mixture looks smooth and silky. This is the sponge that needs to rest covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes, although it is best if it can rest longer, up to 8 hours in a cool place. I left it for 2 hours.
2Sprinkle the salt over the sponge and then stir in the olive oil, mixing well, again stirring in the same direction. Add the all purpose flour a cup at a time, mixing until the dough is too stiff to mix with the spoon. Scrape into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be moderately firm and have a slight sheen.
3Rinse the mixing bowl, dry it and coat it lightly with oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours or until it doubles in bulk.
4Deflate the dough by kneading it briefly. Divide it in half and keep one half under plastic or a cloth while you work with the other. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and with the light floured cupped hands, form the pieces into tight balls; keep the balls under plastic while you work on the others. On a well floured surface, flatten the balls of dough into a circle 8 to 9 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick. Cover, but do not stack the rolled out breads.
5Bake in the oven. I used a pizza stone but you can also use a sheet pan. Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Place the dough on the preheated stone/sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes or until the breads resembles blown-up balloons. Don’t worry of you get seams or dry spots or less than full balloons; the bread will still taste good. As the breads come out of the oven, wrap them together in a large kitchen towel. Finish baking this batch of bread, roll out the remaining dough and continue baking.