Khubz is an Arabic flatbread that's soft and delicious with your favorite Middle Eastern dishes. You can make this recipe for whole wheat pita bread easily at home!
This pita pocket recipe is adapted from Claudia Roden's recipe in her book, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
Nearly every country on Earth has one thing in common... bread! Although some breads are unleavened (made without yeast) while others are yeast-risen, one thing is clear. Soft, warm bread is something that we all find comforting and delicious.
The delicious Middle Eastern leavened flatbread I'm sharing the recipe for today is known by many different names, as well as several alternate spellings!
What is Khubz?
Khubz (the Arabic name for "bread") has alternative names of khoubz, khobez, khubez, and khubooz. It's also known as:
- Pita bread
- Arabic bread or Arab bread
- Syrian bread
- Lebanese flatbread
So, what is naan, and how does it compare to pita?
Naan vs Pita
As mentioned above, flatbreads, including this recipe for whole wheat pita bread, are slightly leavened with yeast. In comparison, naan is an unleavened flatbread.
Through a combination of yeast and steam in the oven, pita bread rises as it bakes, creating pockets of air between the layers.
As a result you can slice them open and stuff them with delicious fillings like beef, roasted vegetables, Mediterranean Hummus, and shawarma.
Ingredients in whole wheat pita bread
Like most basic bread recipes, you need just a few simply pantry essentials to make this recipe.
- Flour- Although this recipe calls for a combination of whole wheat flour and bread flour, you can certainly make it with all bread flour instead
- Active dry yeast- This is sometimes called double rise yeast, because many recipes that call for it require the dough to be risen twice. NOTE: Quick rise and rapid rise yeast cannot be substituted for active dry yeast.
- White granulated sugar- This ingredient "feeds" or activates the bacteria in yeast, causing it to bloom so that it can perform its job of rising the pita bread dough.
- Kosher salt- You can use sea salt if you prefer it, but avoid using common table salt.
- Olive oil- I like to use olive oil for its flavor but any neutral flavor of liquid cooking oil may be used instead.
How to make khubz
- Activate the yeast. To rise properly, yeast must be combined with lukewarm water that is between 105° F. and 110° F. When you see the mixture become frothy and start bubbling, it is active and ready to use.
- Make the sponge. When the yeast has risen, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer, then combine it with flour. This is called a "sponge". You'll let it rest for about 10 minutes, until it resembles pancake batter.
- Add remaining flour and mix/knead for 10 minutes. Obviously, a stand mixer will make this job much easier. Otherwise, be prepared for a hand and forearm workout.
- Let the dough rise. To help it rise, place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and place the bowl in a warm area of your house. If you live in a cold weather climate, you may want to turn on your oven for 2 minutes, then turn it off and place the bowl inside of the warm oven.
- Roll out the khubz dough. After the dough rises, you will punch the air out to flatten it slightly Then, use a rolling pin to completely flatten and roll it out into circles or oblong shapes.
- Let the dough rise once more, then bake! The second rise is much shorter than the first. It only needs to rise for about 10 minutes before going into the oven.
whole wheat pita bread recipe notes
- Storing instructions: Be sure to store your bread in an airtight container at room temperature. Like any fresh baked goods, it should stay fresh for a few days. If you want to keep it longer than that, you can wrap it tightly in freezer storage bags and it should freeze well for up to 3 months.
- Softening pita bread: Because of their thinness, flatbreads tend to dry out pretty quickly. You can soften it by wrapping the bread in a barely damp kitchen towel and popping it into the microwave for a minute.
Use that same microwave method to help open up closed pita pockets. The steam from the towel helps separate the layers of bread.
Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Bread - Khubz
- 1 packet active dry yeast (¼ ounce, or 2 ¼ tsp)
- 1 ½ cup lukewarm water
- ⅛ tsp sugar
- 3 cups flour (See Note 1)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil divided
- Dissolve the yeast in a large mixing bowl with ¼ cup warm water. Add the sugar and when it starts to froth, add remaining 1 ¼ cups of water.
- Add 1 ½ cups flour, and using dough hook attachment, mix. This is called a "sponge" mixture. Let this rest for 10 minutes. It will look like pancake batter.
- Add the salt and tablespoon of olive oil to the sponge and mix together. Add remaining 1 ½ cups of flour, and using dough hook on low, mix until dough comes together.
- Turn speed up and mix dough for 10 minutes. Dough will become elastic, shiny and smooth. Remove the dough and set aside on floured surface while you oil the mixing bowl.
- Rub remaining tablespoon of olive oil on the inside of the mixing bowl and roll dough ball all over to coat. Flip it over, cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 2 hours in a draft free, warm place (See Note 2).
- Punch dough down and knead again for 3 minutes. Divide dough in half. Divide first half into 4 equal pieces, cover other half with damp tea towel or plastic wrap.
- Roll each dough piece into a ball. Flatten each ball on a lightly floured surface and roll 7-8" in diameter, about an ⅛ to ¼" thick. Dust with flour and place on a floured towel or tray lined with a silicon mat. Repeat with remaining dough. Allow to rest and rise again, about 20 minutes at room temperature.
Skillet Baking Method
- Heat a heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron) over a high flame and cook each piece for 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side (these will puff up like balloons).
- Wrap breads in a towel to keep warm and pliable as you repeat with remaining dough pieces.
Oven Baking Method
- Place a baking sheet in the center of a 500°F oven.
- Remove baking sheet from oven, sprinkle with flour and place 2 pieces on the hot baking sheet. Bake 3-5 minutes until lightly browned (these will puff up like balloons).
- I like to use 1 ½ cups bread flour with 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour. Feel free to use 3 cup bread flour if you choose.
- I often times will either place the bowl in the microwave and leave it be or turn the clothes dryer on for a minute, turn it off and place the bowl to rise in the dryer (being sure NOT to turn it on while in there).
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.