If you’re new to naturally leavened breads and are just making friends with your sourdough starter, these easy breakfast pitas are a great place to begin.
For more information on sourdough starter and other healthy food ferments, be sure to check out the Homestead Kitchen section of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. With eight different chapters and over 400 pages of homesteading how-to’s and inspiration, there’s sure to be something to wet your appetite! If you’d like a sample of the kitchen chapter, just shoot me an email at Tessa@homesteadlady.com and I’ll get you set up. Click below for more information.
Learning to use your sourdough starter can be tricky so allow yourself a learning curve as you work with it. The benefits of using sourdough are many, so persevere as you learn to take care of and use your sourdough starter. Here’s a great article on the Top 10 Reasons to Eat Sourdough Bread by Cookus Interruptus to learn more about the benefits of sourdough – click here.
Once you’re convinced, a good recipe to start with is sourdough pitas.
The Versatile Pita
The reason I like to make pitas, and find them to be a simple way to use sourdough starter, is because they’re pleasing and tasty even if they flop.
A pita is made by putting a flat, pancake-looking bit of dough into a very hot oven (500 degrees) for a few minutes. In those few minutes, the pita is supposed to inflate, creating a pocket into which, upon the pita being cut in half after its been baked, can be shoved all manner of yummy sandwich-type material.
A Breakfast Pita Example
In our case, we were looking to have breakfast for dinner and made whole wheat, sourdough breakfast pitas by plying them with scrambled eggs, pastured bacon (unless you’re a vegetarian), tomato (a rare off-season indulgence) and avocado.
We also satisfied our sweet tooth and made almond butter and jelly pitas, as well as some with cream cheese and raw honey. We tossed in the raw nut and dried berry mix from our sponsor Now Foods for some extra protein and a bit of a tangy/sweet addition. Woodstock Foods provided our excellent almond butter and the honey can from Bee Raw, another of our sponsors for Hot Breakfast Month. They sent us a jar of their buckwheat honey – oh my. This honey looks and tastes like pure, delectable molasses. The smell is strong but don’t let that put you off. This honey is incredibly full-flavored and rich. They sell all different varieties of honey and I encourage you check them out if you have a special honey flavor you’d like to explore.
Breakfast, Dinner, Whatever
If you’re like me and forget to set up your sourdough starter for pitas the night before to have for breakfast, you can simply eat them for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is one of our favorites. My sourdough pita recipe is pretty basic but I was inspired by Melissa Richardson’s book Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast. This is my absolute favorite sourdough cookbook.
Besides the book, in order to make good pitas (with sourdough starter or not), you’re going to need a quality baking stone or pan. You need one that can withstand the high temperature necessary to get the pitas to poof up. Double check your pan’s quality because stones can break and metal pans can warp if they’re not designed to take that high heat.
Recipe for Sourdough Pitas
You can stuff these sourdough pitas with anything that sounds good to you – don’t be hemmed in by my suggestions. With my children, the more variety on the table, the more they enjoy the meal. I put out a lot of options and they get to choose what they want. They love making their own choices!
- 1 cup sourdough starter – doubled in size, with lots of bubbles
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup olive or avocado oil
- 2 cups Organic whole wheat white flour (The Organic label will ensure that your white four is unenriched)*
- 3-4 cups whole wheat flour
- At least six hours before baking, combine the above ingredients. Add the flour slowly, a few cups at a time. Watch for the dough to stiffen, thunk against the sides of the bowl. It should also stop leaving a sticky dough-trail on the bowl. Be really careful NOT to add too much flour or your pitas will crack when baked. Be patient and watch the flour absorb the liquids until it firms up and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Knead the dough for 8 minutes in a stand mixer or 12 minutes by hand.
- Form a smooth, uniform ball of dough and place in pre-greased container. Make sure your bowl is big enough for the dough to double in size. Cover and let sit for at least six hours, but up to ten or twelve is good, too.
- Divide the dough into 15-20 pieces and form them into smooth balls.
- Preheat your oven WITH THE PAN inside to 500F/260c.
- Begin rolling out each small ball as you might a pizza dough. Keep the width uniform to prevent burning in overly thin areas.
- Once the oven and pan are preheated, quickly place the pitas on the pan. Keep your pan in the middle of your oven to prevent burning yourself as you reach in and out. I use the longest, sturdiest spatula I have to place and remove pitas. Move quickly and keep the oven open only as long as necessary to prevent dropping the temperature too much.
- Bake for about five minutes but watch the pitas so they don’t turn too brown on top or they’ll break. Each oven is different so adjust your bake time accordingly. After a few minutes, you should see the pitas poof. If they don’t, no worries – just keep experimenting with the recipe until you get the hang of it. Some days, my pitas never poof and I call them naan bread. We eat them anyway because they’re delicious regardless of what they look like.
*Bob’s Red Mill is the brand of Organic-labeled white baking flour that I use. When I don’t have that on hand, I just use all home-ground, whole wheat flour. You can use all whole wheat flour successfully for this recipe. The white flour is just a bit lighter and can give you more poof in your pita.
If you’d like another healthy bread option, try our post on No Yeast Bread cultured with kefir! Click here to read it.
To learn more about yeast overgrowth in the human body, begin our 3-part series of articles on the topic by clicking here.