What Is a Whole Grain Pita?

B. Turner

A whole grain pita is a type of specialty bread made from whole grain flour rather than traditional white flour. Pitas feature a round, flat profile, and are typically formed with a pocket in the middle to hold meat, cheese, or vegetables. While whole grain pitas can be found in many grocery stores and bakeries, some people prefer to make them at home to enjoy a fresh, homemade taste. These breads can be eaten plain or used in place of regular sliced bread to make sandwiches or other dishes.

Whole grain pita bread.
Whole grain pita bread.

The average whole grain pita recipe requires only a few basic ingredients, including water, yeast, oil, flour, and salt. Whole wheat flour is most often used because of its ready availability and relatively low cost compared to more exotic whole grain flours. Some cooks rely on oatmeal or wheat germ, though almost any type of whole grain flour can be used.

Whole grain pita bread is made using whole grain flour.
Whole grain pita bread is made using whole grain flour.

Once the ingredients are mixed together, they are placed in a bread setting machine or kneaded by hand until they are ready for baking. Whole grain pitas are traditionally made in a brick bread oven, particularly in the eastern countries where they originated. Those without access to a bread oven may bake the pita at a high temperature in a regular oven, or heat it on a pizza stone to recreate the effect of a bread oven.

Whole grain pita makers offer this flat bread in a range of sizes, from very small snack sized units to pitas large enough for sandwiches and pizza. Some add honey for sweetness, which enhances the natural flavor of the wheat. Others add flax or sunflower seeds for added crunch and texture.

A whole grain pita can be dipped in hummus or other types of dips. It may also be the base for a pizza, or be stuffed with meat and vegetables to make a sandwich. When whole grain pitas are sliced and baked, they form crunchy wedges called pita chips that may be served with dip or eaten plain.

Compared to pitas and breads made with white flour whole grain pita breads offer numerous health benefits. They are rich in fiber, which improves digestion and helps to regulate blood sugar. Whole grains are also associated with a reduced risk of heart disease or diabetes. Finally, many people simply enjoy the texture and nutty flavor of whole grain products compared to more standard white pitas.

Flax seeds add crunch to a whole grain pita.
Flax seeds add crunch to a whole grain pita.

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