Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Pockets

Why this recipe works:

The addition of milk, honey, oil, and an egg enrich the dough and keep it soft.  The plentiful amount of sourdough starter ferments and leavens the whole wheat flour easily.

The hot oven (500 degrees) and preheated cookie sheets ensure the pockets puff properly.

The short bake time (4 minutes) yields a soft and fluffy interior, while preventing the pockets from become brittle and dry.

Note:

I highly recommend measuring the starter by weight for accuracy since it is bubbly and active.  All other ingredients can be measured by volume.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita Pockets

  • 3 cups (about 475 grams) hard red whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 grams) active sourdough starter at 100% hydration
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt

The evening before bake day:

Feed starter enough flour and water so that the total volume will yield 350 grams starter plus enough leftover starter to return to the refrigerator.

The morning of bake day:

Drop a spoonful of starter into a glass of water to perform a float test.  If the starter floats, it's ready to use.  If it sinks, feed it again and wait till the next morning to mix the dough.

Place all ingredients EXCEPT salt in a mixing bowl and combine until a shaggy dough forms.  Allow to autolyse for 15-30 minutes.

Add salt and knead for 5 minutes.  While kneading, observe the moisture level of the dough.  It should be soft and stretchy.  If it's tough and hard, add more water.  If it's too sloppy and wet, add more flour.

Depending on what your schedule allows, you can perform one or more "stretch and folds" by hand or using the mixer every 30 minutes or so during the morning.  If using an electric mixer, simply turn it on for 30 seconds or so.  Repeat this every 30 minutes or so several times.

Cover and leave at room temperature for 8 hours to proof, or until nearly doubled in size.

Late afternoon of bake day:

Prepare 3 piece of parchment paper that are the size of cookie sheets.

Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a circle that is roughly 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.  It's important that they be rolled thin because a thick piece of dough will not puff in the oven.

Place 3 circles of dough on each piece of parchment and cover with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from drying out.

Allow to rest for about 1 hour.  They do not need to raise much. 

Time to bake!

Place 1-3 cookie sheets (as many as you have) in the oven and preheat to 500.

When the oven in preheated, remove the cookie sheets and lift the parchment paper with the pitas onto the hot cookie sheets.  Promptly return them to the oven and bake for 4 minutes.  At this time, the pockets should be puffed but they should not be darker in color at all.  (If you bake them longer until they become golden brown, they will be brittle and dry.)

Allow the pitas to cool to the touch, then cut each circle in half to yield 18 pockets.  Cover with a towel to finish cooling, then store in an airtight container.  If not eaten within 2-3 days, they can be frozen.

Leave a comment below if you have questions, need more clarification, or want to share your success with the recipe!

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