Pita which literally means flatbread is probably the oldest form of bread that we know about. Though the word we use now is Greek in origin, the earliest evidence we have of its existence is from Jordan about 14,500 years ago when they used wild grains as the basis for their recipe.
Pita is now identified as the staple bread of the Middle East and traditionally is made from wheat flour, water, sugar and yeast. It is baked at a very high temperature either in an oven or more traditionally on a taboon. It creates a soft, flat, round bread that when heated up puffs up and creates an air pocket in the middle. Pita is known for its versatile uses and unlike other breads where you place your toppings on top, pita is usually filled.
Here are some great things to do with pita:
Dip it – The best bit of a Mediterranean meal is when they bring an array of different salads and dips, such as matbucha, hummus and tahini and you wipe them off your plate with warm, soft pita bread.
Falafel – The ultimate street food. Stop at the street vendor, open the top of the pita, smear in some hummus, dollop in a variety of salads and pickles, add in a number of warm falafel balls, drizzle on some tahini and for the adventurous who like a kick, some hot sauce.
Pizza – They are perfectly round and when you don’t have a pizza in your freezer it is really convenient. Spread over some tomato sauce, add some toppings and some cheese and place it in the oven. A great meal or snack in just a few minutes.
Arayes – This is the ultimate barbeque food. Fill the pita with a ground meat mixture and smear the outside of the pita with olive oil. Place it on the barbeque and let it cook all the way through. The perfect Arayes is moist inside and crisp on the outside..
Pita Crackers – a great snack and even a better solution for reusing your dried pita bread. Take the pita and cut it into smallish pieces. Cover in olive oil and herbs of your choice. Zatar is a great choice. Then bake in the oven until they become crisp. They can either be eaten straight or used as a dip.
Many companies now bake pita, some companies such as Nina’s Pita based in Haifa, Israel have been baking quality, authentic Artisan pita for generations. There are so many things that you can do with the humble pita so go ahead and discover them for yourself.