Pita bread is a round, yeast-leavened wheat flour bread. It is baked on a stone surface, oven, or stovetop into a flatbread or puffed, double-layered bread with an air pocket. It originates in the Middle East and is popular in Greek, Lebanese, Asian, African, American, Mediterranean, and European cuisines. Use it as is, or make homemade pita chips as an appetizer.
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How is pita bread traditionally eaten?
Pita bread is traditionally eaten plain or stuffed to make falafel pitas and pita sandwiches.
Falafel pitas are popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. Falafel is prepared first by grinding spiced fava beans and chickpeas, rolling them into balls, and deep-frying them to make patties. Pita pockets are stuffed with these patties and garnished with a tangy sauce.
Other ways of using pita bread include:
- Cutting into pita triangles or squares and toss into a salad
- Making baked pita chips or pita triangles for scooping into spreads, sauces, and dips like hummus, tzatziki, tahini sauce, baba ganoush, and roasted eggplant
- Making pita pizza (flatbread pizzas)
- Making pita wraps (from flat pita bread that has not been allowed to pocket) for falafel, tomatoes, onions, gyros, kebabs, and pork or chicken strips
What is the best way to warm pita bread?
The best way to warm pita bread is to heat it in a pan or skillet over medium heat. Heat the pan or skillet and place the bread on it to warm the bread. Cook it for 10-12 seconds over medium heat until it heats lightly on both sides.
Are you supposed to toast pita bread?
Toasting pita bread is not necessary, but it’s important if you want to make spiced or spice-free pita chips. These are healthier than potato chips.
Here’s how to make toasted pita chips:
- Choose either a flatbread pita (with no pockets and usually has thicker layers) or a pocket pita (has been allowed to puff up and has thinner layers when you cut through it).
- Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife to cut the bread into uniform triangles or squares.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Place the triangles or squares in a single layer on an unlined baking sheet. (Not lining the cookie sheet with parchment paper saves cooking time and ensures the pita gets crispier because of the direct contact with the hot sheet pan.)
- Drizzle or brush the pita pieces with extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt on both sides. You can also season them with za’atar, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, paprika, and other spices, depending on your pita chips recipe.
- Bake the pita for 5-10 minutes until it is crispy and golden brown.
- Take the pieces out and allow them to cool before serving and storage. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and consume in 3-7 days.
How can you use pita bread to make a sandwich?
Pita sandwiches are one of the most popular puffed or flat pita bread uses. The pockets make pita ideal for stuffing to make sandwiches with a soft, slightly chewy outer.
To make a pita sandwich with a flat pita, lay it flat and top it with meats, red pepper hummus, thick stews, or tomatoes. Fold the loaded pita into a sandwich.
Cut the bread into two equal pockets to make a pita sandwich with puffed pita bread. Stuff each pocket to make the sandwich. Possible cooked stuffing materials for the sandwich include:
- Melted cheeses (parmesan and feta cheese)
- Thick stews
- Vegetables like tomatoes, coleslaw, and cucumbers
What are the health benefits of toasted pita bread?
Pita bread contains:
- Vitamins B1 and B2
The dietary fiber in whole-wheat pita bread can help lower bad cholesterol levels. It bonds with bad cholesterol and removes it from the body to reduce the chances of cardiovascular complications.
Eating regulated amounts of pita bread may help you with weight loss. Since bread is low in calories, eating small amounts doesn’t lead to weight gain.
Pita bread can also help with proper brain function. The iron in the bread helps the body make myoglobin and hemoglobin. The latter transports oxygen to all the organs, including the brain. The iron in pita bread also helps reduce the risk of anemia.