Pita bread is a round, leavened flatbread that is mostly consumed in several Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It is traditionally an Arabic bread. The main characteristic of this bread is that it is flat but has a pocket between the two flat layers. ‘Pita‘ is a Greek term, which literally translates to ‘flat’.
I first had pita bread in form of shawarma. It is made of Pita bread and sliced pieces of slow cooked lamb or chicken.
Pita bread is very versatile and there are different ways that it is served and eaten. When it is cut in half, you get two pockets of bread. The pockets can be served filled with meat, raw or cooked vegetables, cheese or a combination of all three. These stuffed pockets are called pita sandwiches or pita pockets.
It is a common item at Arabic meals often eaten with falafel(a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses formed into balls or fritters and deep-fried) and kebabs. One of the most popular ways of eating it is with hummus(a thick paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic) or baba ganoush( thick sauce or spread made from pureed aubergines and sesame seeds)
If you ever want to make some at home, here is a very simple recipe you can follow.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
1. Mix yeast, sugar and water in large bowl with a spoon. Cover with clean kitchen towel, and let it stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly.
2. Stir in 2 cups of flour & salt into the yeast mixture. Knead for 2 to 3 minutes with hands or dough hook of electric mixer until the dough is smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cup of flour and olive oil; knead for 3 minutes more until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky. Shape into ball, place in floured bowl, and cover with a kitchen towel. Let it rise 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size. Punch down dough, cover, and let it rise for 30 more minutes.
3. Shape the dough into handful balls on floured work surface. Cover with kitchen towel, and let rise 30 minutes. Roll balls into circles. Not too thin. Cover, and let stand 30 minutes more.
4. Grease pan with vegetable or olive oil, and heat over high heat. Place 1 dough circle on the pan. Cook 1 minute per side until pita is puffed.Push on puffed pita with a spatula to cook edges. Repeat with remaining dough circles, oiling pan as often as it’s required.
I hope you get to try this because you’ll definitely get hooked.