Commonly known as Arabic bread, Pita bread is circular leavened bread that is double layered. It is a flat read that originated from the Middle East. In those countries, it goes by the names Shami, khobz, Lebanese or mafrood.
They make it with white ash flour or high extraction flours or meals. It has been their staple food for over 4000 years. According to historians, it likely originated from the west of the Mediterranean Sea.
Most farmers and desert dwellers appear to have been partakers of the pita bread. Traders in the Arabian and Sahara deserts carried it as they traveled.
The first-ever pitas made are said to have been from dough made of flour and water that was left out to absorb the yeast naturally present in the environment.
After some time, it is said that the brewer’s yeast was added to the dough to make it rise quickly then they were cooked over a fire in an outdoor oven. The common pita read ingredients are flour, baker’s yeast, whole wheat flour, sugar, olive oil, and salt.
How Is It Made?
Pita is pretty easy to make at home because its ingredients are available in most homes. It is cooked in the oven or o the stovetop. Each has its pros and cons. In the oven, the pitas tend to puff more grandly and make softer pockets, but the disadvantage is they stay pale-colored and mild-tasting.
For the stovetop method, the puffing isn’t there, but the taste is excellent, and they get crunchy with toasted spots here and there. Choose what works best for you.
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 cup of warm water
- 2 tsp instant or dry yeast
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Mix the yeast and the water and let it sit for five minutes until all the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour, saving the third cup for kneading, salt, and olive oil. Stir that until the dough is ready.
- Sprinkle some flour on your working surface and turn the dough onto it. Knead it for 7 minutes or so until it is elastic and smooth.
- Put it in a clean bowl and cover the dough with olive oil till it is coated. Cover the bowl with a dishcloth and let it rise. It should be double in bulk. This may take 2 hours. You can refrigerate the dough for later and bake just enough for one time.
- Shape the Pitas using an already floured rolling pin into circles that are 8 inches wide and about a quarter-inch thick. Lift and turn the dough regularly to make sure it does not stick to your surface. If it starts to spring, let it rest before rolling again.
- If you decide to cook them in the oven, heat the oven to 450 degrees as you shape them. Place a large baking sheet o the middle rack and let it heat. Once it is ready, place the rolled pitas on top and bake for about 3 minutes. They will take about a minute to puff up, and you will know they are done when they balloon fully.
- For the stovetop, warm a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then drizzle some oil in the pan and make sure to wipe an excess. Layout your already rolled pita on the pan and cook for 30 seconds till you start seeing bubbles form. Flip and cook for 2 minutes on the other side until you get toasted spots.
- Keep all cooked pitas covered with a dishtowel while cooking the rest.
Nutritional Facts Of Pita Bread
Pita bread, like most bread, can be either very healthy or unhealthy or somewhere in the middle of that. Its nutritious factor is dependant on what ingredients are used to make it. If it made from solely white flour, then it does not contain fiber.
If it is made from whole grain flour, then it is healthy. For the caloric content, pita bread made with unenriched white flour is 275 calories per 100 grams, while if it is made from whole wheat, it is 266 calories.
Pita bread and keto
It is possible to make keto-friendly pita bread. Rather than using the regular white flour, use almond flour coconut flour, flax, sea salt, and baking powder to make your pita bread mixture.
Boil water separately and in another bowl, beat the egg whites and add them to the flour mixture. Mix them for about 30 seconds and add the boiled water. Mix well.
Heat any oil fo your choice on a pan over medium heat. Take a quarter cup worth of the mixture, pour it on the pan, and then press it down using a wet spoon to smoothen it out to a circle. When cooked, it will turn to a golden brown then flip to the other side.
Is it gluten-free?
Like we saw above, pita bread is made with wheat flour, so unless otherwise like the keto pita bread recipe, it needs to be made explicitly with gluten-free ingredients. You could follow the recipe below.
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- Two teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup plain mashed potato flakes
- One ¾ cups of All-purpose gluten-free flour
- ¾ cup warm milk
- ¼ cup warm yogurt
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, then place your baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Make sure it is close to the top of the oven.
- Mix the dry ingredients first, then the milk and yogurt and the oil and blend. Mix till the mixture pulls away from the bowl, and the dough holds together. Sprinkle some of that all-purpose gluten-free flour on the countertop to avoid sticking. Roll into a wide log and cut into five or so equal-sized portions.
- Roll each portion in a small amount of the flour then transfer to a parchment paper that has been floured. Brush the tops with the leftover olive oil and place on the hot baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes watching to see them puff and brown. Flip on the other side.
- Remove them and check the insides. Let them cool for 5 minutes before cutting them.
Is it Vegan?
In all its entirety, pita bread is Vegan friendly because the most fundamental ingredients of making the bread are flour, water, yeast, and salt. However, many recipes tend to add eggs, honey, or milk. With only the essential ingredients, vegans can rely on this type of bread.
The Difference Between Pita Bread And Naan
Naan and Pita bread look quite similar, but one is fluffy and mostly oval-shaped, and the other is circular and has pockets that make it better for sandwiches. Naan is also leavened and is a flatbread.
It originates from India by way of Persia. It is softer compared to pita bread and has yogurt, milk, and sometimes eggs or butter in it hence the softness. When it is being prepared, they shape it into a ball and slap it on the clay oven’s interior walls, where it pugs and cooks.
Like pita bread, you can also cook it on the skillet, but the result won’t be as pleasing. Despite pita being much older, it is easier to make in a modern oven than naan.
How do you make naan?
- Two eggs whisked
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- One ¼ cups of milk
- 7 cups of all-purpose flour
- One packet dry yeast
- 4 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 ½ cups plain yogurt
- 4 ½ tbsp olive oil
- Heat the milk in a saucepan until it is warm then add sugar and yeast and mix. Set aside and wait until the yeast is frothy.
- Sift the measured salt, flour, and baking powder in a bowl and set it aside. To the yeast mixture, add the olive oil, yogurt, and eggs. Add this yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon. Once it is well mixed, use your hands to form a dough ball.
- Sprinkle some flour on the dough to get it smooth while you knead it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise.
- Punch and knead the dough, divide it into 12 equal balls, and lay a damp dishtowel to avoid drying them out.
- Flour your work counter and roll the balls once, then flatten them until they are pizza thin.
- Use a large skillet over high heat till it is smoking hot. Place one flat piece of the dough and let it bubble for about 90 seconds, then flip and cook for the same time.
Recipes With Pita Bread
Since the bread when baked puffs up and leaves a hollow space in the middle, which people call its “pocket.” People stuff it inside to eat it with other foods, and the combination is heavenly. Below we will look at some recipes that you can pair up with your pita bread and enjoy it even more.
Pita bread pizza
- One can tomato sauce
- Six pita bread
- 4 ounces sliced black olives
- Two small tomatoes sliced thinly
- 1 ounce drained pimento peppers
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
- One pinch basil
- One pinch dried oregano
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- One pinch crushed coriander
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees then warm the pitas in the oven until soft. Spread the tomato sauce first lightly on the pitas and press them to flatten. Follow with the black olives, oregano, pimento peppers, coriander, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and the blue cheese.
- Spread the now loaded pitas on the baking sheet and place in the oven that you preheated for about 8 minutes until the pitas have reached crispness.
- Serve as whole or cut into manageable pieces.
Pita bread sandwich
As we said, pita bread can be stuffed to make sandwiches, and you can go all out with your stuffings. You could do the following the combos:
- Sauteed eggplant pieces, roasted red peppers, and slices of mozzarella cheese
- Mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and cooked bacon strips
- Spinach sliced strawberries, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar
- Sliced pork, corn, greens, and a squeeze of lime.
- Greens, canned salmon mixed with yogurt and fresh dill.
Pita Bread Chips
Pita bread chips are so delicious you will wonder why you never tried them. With your pita bread with pockets, all you need to do is separate the pita so that you have two single layers.
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¾ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil separated
- One large pita bread with pockets or two without
- As always preheat the oven first to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. On it brush about a teaspoon of olive oil, then set it aside.
- Split the pitas with pockets, place the single layers on the counter, and split them again with a knife to get two single-layer rounds.
- Cut them into wedges with the knife as you would pizza then half till you have 16 wedges. Brush them with oil on both sides, and be careful not to soak them with the oil.
- Season the wedges with the pepper and salt then arrange them on the parchment paper baking them for 5 minutes. Turn them over and cook till crisp and golden brown for about 7 minutes.
- Serve them with your favorite dipping.
Pita bread dips
You may have the best pita bread chips, but with the wrong dip, it fails. The following are some tips you could pair up with your homemade pita bread chips.
- Mushroom Caponata
- Greek dip
- Garlic bean dip
- Seven-layer Mediterranean dip
- Loaded Veggie dip
- Pumpkin hummus
Pita Bread with hummus
This is one classic middle eastern favorite. Made from mashed chickpeas, hummus is a dip consisting of tahini, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Consumable with Naan bread.
- Fresh parsley leaves
- 2 cups chickpeas
- One tablespoon lemon juice
- Three cloves of minced garlic
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- ½ tsp pepper
- Soak the chickpeas overnight, then drain, boil with salted water till they become soft. Roast the tahini and blend to make a fine powder.
- In a blender, add the chickpeas, powdered tahini, red chili powder, pepper, salt, two tablespoons of olive oil, and blend. Add lemon juice after and blend till smooth.
- Transfer in a dip bowl and drizzle some olive oil and red chili powder if you want.
- Use the parsley to garnish.
Pita bread with chicken
There are so many recipes on pita bread with chicken that you could choose from. Remember the pocket characteristic. You could prepare your chicken any way you like and stuff it there with some vegetables and sauce and enjoy it. For example,
Marinated Chicken Pita Sandwich
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Raw chicken breasts diced
- ½ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- 1 Pita bread
- One small onion
- One diced tomato
- ½ cup of yogurt plain
- Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, oregano, and pepper in a ziplock bag and then add the chicken cubes and mix thoroughly. Let the meat marinate for 3 hours or overnight.
- Pour the chicken into a frying pan with the marinade over medium-high heat. Cook the meat until it loses the pink color.
- Stuff the pit bread pockets with the chicken, tomato, and yogurt and serve.
Storing Pita Bread
Most store-bought pita bread has been frozen to increase shelf life. You can do this too. If you cook many, you could freeze them for next time. Wrap them in aluminum foil and store them in your freezer.
Pita can stay for even a month in the freezer but understand that the more they stay there, the more they dry up.
Warming Pita Bread
Leave the Pita Bread on your countertop until it is thawed, heat it, or sprinkle some water on each bread then heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds if you can’t wait for it to thaw by itself.
You can also warm the pita in the oven by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. This is not only for the frozen ones but also for when you buy the supermarket’s pitas.
Wrap them in an aluminum foil and place them in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove them using tongs or oven gloves to avoid burning your hands. You could also put the pita on the oven rack, brush them with a small amount of olive oil, salt, or other seasonings.
You could also use a skillet and set it to medium-high heat. Make sure it doesn’t bend the pita on the sides then place a lid on it. Use tongs to get them on a plate.