Recipe: Grilled Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Makes 8 Pita

Light, airy, grilled pita bread spells summer. Flip flops and ice water. Sunglasses and big smiles.

Making this recipe just might help you get to know your neighbors. After all, the fresh smell of grilled pita bread is nearly impossible to resist. As long as you’re willing to share…

So, let’s take a cue from the fine people of Iraq and enjoy pita, just like they have in this region (not only the Middle East, but the Mediterranean and also the Balkans) for millennia. Today, let’s serve it up with your favorite Middle Eastern food – falafel, kababs, muhummara, and tabouleh. Come to think of it, any way is a good way to eat pita.

Based on the recipe in The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman. You can also bake this recipe. Simply cook on a stone or cast iron pan in an oven set to 500F for a few minutes per side.


1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup warm water + extra, as needed

Special equipment:

A flat griddle to place on the grill, or cast iron pan.


Take a deep breath and smile. You’re going to make balloons out of bread.

Bread balloons. It’s true.

First, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.

Then pour on the warm water and oil. Mix until a soft dough forms. If the dough feels tight, add a little more water until it is soft but not sticky.

Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2- 2 hours.

Meanwhile, go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air.

Mountains of Iraq

A little while later you’ll end up with a doughy pillow. My favorite. Well, almost my favorite. Dough balloons are the best, though.

Divide into 8 balls, pat into a disc, and roll flat. They need to be thin so that they’ll puff up and create the pita’s characteristic pocket – Bittman suggests making them less than a 1/4 inch thick.

Once they are all rolled out, let the dough rest while you preheat the grill (they need to rise about 20 minutes).

To prepare the grill:

Place a griddle or cast iron pan on the grill and preheat to 450F. Mist the bread with water (optional, but helps them puff up) and place on the griddle. Close the grill and cook a few minutes per side, until puffy and golden.

Now there’s a pita balloon. Hello!

Slice and serve immediately.

Eat with a smile, a friend, and a laughing cat.

Preferably while admiring a stunning view.

Like this one.

Mountains in Northern Iraq

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  1. aunty eileen says:

    Love it and love that Martha rolling pin : ) Isn’t it great Sasha when young children are eager to try and learn and some are also quiet observer learners. Enjoy very much these young years with Ava… the years tend to pass quickly.

    I was always eager to help Dad in the yard and Mom in the house including she did the wallpapering and painting and even wood refinishing and I also could sit for hours watching every detail of their work…. I found doing and watching to be equally enjoyable and beneficial….

    God Bless you Sasha!

  2. Jessica Bennett says:

    That is a stunning view! If I concentrate hard, I can feel like I’m there. Now I know if I can ever get to Iraq, I’ll want to make the northern part a must visit.

    And you’ve convinced me to have hummus and pita for dinner tonight (not an unusual dinner for me- I go through periods of having it once or twice a week). I make pita in big batches and freeze the leftovers. Of course it’s not as good as having it right away, but I don’t often have the time and energy to cook.

    • Brian S. says:

      From what I’ve heard, the northern part (Kurdistan) is easier and safer to visit and there are even fancy hotels like this one.

      • Jessica Bennett says:

        Good to know (although, I’ll have more difficulty getting to Iraq because of personal reasons more than safety reasons). And I’ll skip the fancy hotel and assume there will be a nice guesthouse somewhere, but it’s interesting to know there is one in that region. I appreciated the presence of a fancy hotel in Cambodia when it was very hot and humid. I stopped there to rest in the lobby for a few minutes and take advantage of their air conditioning (no one seemed to mind that I wasn’t a guest).

      • Mesopotamian says:

        Brian, please refrain from calling northern Iraq “Kurdistan.” “Kurdistan” as it is claimed by the Kurds, is actually an ethnically mixed region (with Semitic Christian and Arab populations, as well as Turkmen) and it is ridiculous to call it by that name, which implicitly excludes non-Kurds. Most Iraqis – except the Kurds – will refer to that region as northern Iraq.

  3. A Mesopotamian says:

    Very nice – I’ve never tried to make my own pita! Going to try this one out. By the way, your daughter is absolutely precious!

  4. Sasha Martin says:

    @Aunty Eileen I love having Ava help me cook. It is the highlight of the entire experience. This morning she helped add the spices to French toast. I let her shake in as much as she wanted, since it “almost” doesn’t matter – the more the better!

    @Jessica – I’ll have to try freezing some. It went too fast this time – I suppose because it was novel. Bittman suggests brushing fresh pita with butter … yes, he’s a brilliant man ;)

    @Mesopotmian – Thank you – it’s a fun experience and really rather satisfying. Good luck! Report back how it goes.

    • aunty eileen says:

      That’s great Sasha that you and Ava love cooking together. When I have leftover Pita I open it up flat and butter the inside (lots of butter) and then sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese and put in toaster oven low temp until the butter bubbles and cheese has melted and pita is very lightly browned…. yum yum snack : )

  5. Collette says:

    Wow, you could use that recipe to make grilled pizza too….. hmmmm…..

  6. I treid making this last night and my pita’s didn’t puff up. They taisted great, just were a flat bread. i am going to try again.

  7. I don’t have a grill or a cast iron pan:-(

    Is there a way for me to make whole wheat pita without those two items? (I have a stove and a non-stick pan, that’s it.)


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