Homemade whole wheat Pita Bread from scratch. Preservative-free!

Commercial pita bread, along with other bread, wraps and pizza shells, are easy to find in the grocery store.  But they are all loaded with preservatives to keep them fresh and soft.  Pita bread is actually simple to make, and if you want to store it longer than a few days, simply freeze it fresh.  With basic ingredients and a bit of time to allow for this yeast bread to rise, healthy pita bread can be made at home from scratch.

Pita bread is also perfect for quick homemade mini pizzas.  Simply top with your favorite pizza toppings, pop in the oven for a few minutes, and serve!  You can also make pita chips out of pita bread.  Try your hand at cinnamon pita chips by coating with butter, cinnamon and sugar, and then popping in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up.  You can also coat with oil and salt to make a crunchy, savoury chip.  Whatever you choose, homemade is healthier!  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1.5 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cornmeal for dusting the baking sheets.

Directions:

  1. Combine yeast and sugar with warm water in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup (or a bowl).  Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flours and salt.  Whisk together..
  3. Once yeast mixture is active (bubbly and ‘growing’),  make a “well” in the middle of the flour mixture and add the yeast mixture all at once.  Stir gently with a spatula until it forms a rough ball.  Dump contents on floured counter top and kneed for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic-feeling.
  4. Place in large, greased bowl.  Flip once so both sides are coated lightly with oil. Cover bowl with damp tea towel and allow to rise until about double, 1 hour or more.
  5. Remove dough from bowl and place on floured counter top.  Kneed for a few minutes.  Divide into 8 equal-sized pieces and shape or roll each into a circle, about 1/8th of an inch thick.  (Like small pizzas).  Let rise on floured counter top for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 450F.
  7. Heat pans for ONLY 2 minutes in hot oven and then remove.  Prepare baking sheets by sprinkling cornmeal on top to prevent dough from sticking.
  8. Carefully remove pitas from counter top and place on hot baking sheets that are covered in cornmeal.
  9. Bake at 450F for 6 minutes.  They will bubble up.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough that you can pick them up and cut open the pocket.
  10. Slide a sharp bread knife inside each pocket to open them up, careful to not rip the pocket.
  11. Cool bread completely under a damp rag to help keep the pockets soft.  Store in airtight container or bread bag.

Notes:

  • Use organic cornmeal (as well as other ingredients) to guarantee they are not genetically-modified.
  • Any pitas that you accidentally rip can be used as pizzas.
  • I have yet to try this with 100% whole wheat flour but that will be my next experiment.  I’ll post it here when I try it.

This post has been shared on Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #48.

 

School Snacks! Healthy, Chewy, Granola Bars.

Granola bars are one of the snacks of choice for many children, and adults too.  They are convenient, they taste good, and they fill you up.  But are they healthy?  Most granola bars are high in sugar and salt and in many cases, contain high fructose corn syrup.  Lots of granola bars contain soy ingredients, and most, unless they specify it or are certified organic, contain genetically modified ingredients.  They are also individually wrapped in plastic or foil which is unsustainable and adds unnecessary waste to the landfills.  Fortunately, they are easy to make, can be made with less sugar and salt than commercial bars, and can contain wholesome, natural ingredients. 

Until recently I haven’t made a granola bar that ALL of my kids enjoy ALL OF THE TIME.  But now I have, and this recipe is so flexible you can change the flavour easily by adding different fruits, nuts, seeds, and more.  These bars hold together nicely, are sweet enough to keep the children coming back for more, and are low enough in sugar to make most moms happy.

For this recipe I have used organic sunflower seed butter.  Sunflower seed butter is higher in protein than peanut butter, has a great flavour, and is generally safe to send to nut-free schools.  It is low in saturated fats, cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and high in vitamins, especially vitamin B.  Click here for more information on the health benefits of sunflower seeds.  Rather than adding a highly-processed protein powder to make a protein bar, this bar is naturally and safely high in protein.  With grains from the organic oats, protein from the seeds and seed butter and fruit from the dried fruit, this bar is pretty much a complete meal and a great snack for anyone.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. rolled oats or multigrain cereal
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. oat flour
  • 1/2 c. crisp rice cereal
  • 1/4 c. demerara cane sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1.5 c. total of assorted nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips etc. I use dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, coconut, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, dried apricots etc.
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. sunflower seed butter

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl or 2 cup glass measuring cup, combine wet ingredients and mix well.
  3. Combine wet with dry and mix well.
  4. Press very firmly into a well-greased 8×12 inch or 8×8 inch baking dish.
  5. Press again with a flat, firm object to compact it even more.
  6. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until it is starting to turn golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.
  8. Press carefully and firmly once more with flat, firm object to compact the bars further.
  9. Cut into pieces before it totally cools.
  10. Do not remove from pan until it is cool to the touch.
  11. Store in an air-tight container.

Tips:

  • If you want to decrease the sugar, take out the demerarra sugar first.  The honey and seed butter are what holds the bar together.
  • Feel free to substitute the seed butter for nut butter if allergies aren’t an issue.
  • Coconut oil can be replaced with melted butter or another cooking oil of your choice.
  • Heating up the wet ingredients a bit helps them combine.
  • This recipe doubles nicely and can still fit in an 8×12 inch baking dish.
  • To guarantee these to be GMO-free, choose certified organic ingredients or ingredients labelled GMO-free.

This recipe is adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Quaker Style Chewy Granola Bar recipe.

This post has been linked to Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday October 2nd, Turning The Clock Back’s What’s Cooking Wednesday, Fresh Eggs Daily’s Farm Girl Blog Fest #3, Homestead Barn Hop#82 and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days Sustainable Ways #47.