Super fresh Greek pita bread may just be the worlds most used and unappreciated flat bread. Whether you spell it ‘Pita’ or ‘Pitta’, most people will know what you’re talking about. There is a difference between the two, and I’ll talk about it later.
But for now, we’re focusing on PITA; the fluffy, chewy, and super tasty flat bread that’s cooked in an oven or on a griddle/pan. This bread is most recognisable as the wrapping of a gyros or γυρος.
Gyros: This hot, often meat but not always, sandwich is much beloved all over Greece, and indeed the world. You’ll see smaller pita encasing freshly cooked, amazingly flavourful, and super tender meat. Plus crisp fresh salad, tzatziki, and even with chips/fries.
Souvlaki: You may not know though, that there’s a much larger version of a gyros, and it’s called Souvlaki. In Australia, you’ll find souvlaki at just about every fish and chip shop – it’s just as popular as a burger, or a dimmie!
Is pita only used this way? Not at all! You’ll also find pita served along side oil and vinegar in many restaurants, as a snack with a variety of dips. These dips can include tzatziki, taramasalata, melitzanosalata, skordalia, and tirokafteri to name a few.
All of these dips are amazing, and we’ll be covering them in turn here on Larder Pantry and Garden as we explore Grecian cuisine further.
Pita is a great substitute for regular sandwich bread when making packed lunches. Like tortillas, you can wrap pita around your salad or meat ‘sandwich’, or make them super fluffy and you can fill the pita instead!
Pita for Life:
Hot or Cold: One of the other great features about pita is you can eat it hot or cold. Fresh from the griddle or pan, pita has a lovely soft and easily chewed texture. It pulls apart almost like mozzarella cheese, and can be easily used to scoop up tasty dips.
Fresh or Old: Pita keeps for days! Whilst most sandwich breads seem to last forever – thanks to mold inhibitors and other preservatives – others can turn in a blink of an eye.
Pita, on the other hand, stays fresh for days. Eventually when it starts to stiffen up, it can then be used to make pita-chips. All you need to do is:
- Cut the remaining pita bread up into the desired size
- Place the pita chips on an ovenproof tray
- Bake in a LOW oven until dried completely.
You can also flavour these chips as they’re baking. Simply give them a light spray with olive oil, and sprinkle over salt, herbs, or spices. Tasty, and no waste!
So how easy is it to make fresh pita? Amazingly easy, is the answer!
Greek Pita Bread Ingredients:
All-purpose flour: Use this gluten rich flour by Wholefood Earth, it’s ideal for developing a strong structure in your bread.
Greek honey: If you love authentic flavours as much as I do, then this Greek honey will have you buzzing!
Olive oil: This Ilada Extra Virgin Olive Oil has to be some of the smoothest, and freshest olive oil I’ve ever discovered. It’s a must for any pantry!
Super Fresh Greek Pita Bread Equipment:
Mixing bowls: Are an essential piece of kit, having enough of them though is another matter entirely! This VonShef set will give you years of good service!
Rolling pin: Trying to roll out dough to a uniform thickness can be tricky. This rolling pin and guide set make it so much easier!
Baking sheet: This MasterClass baking sheet is perfect for all sorts of baking due to having a perforatted bottom – lots of hot air circulation!
Paper bags: Having paperbags on hand can be a game changer. Say good bye to landfil plastic, and hello to recyclable brown paper!
So, now that you have all the ingredients and equipment you need, let’s get baking!
- Mixing bowls
- Wooden spoon
- Baking sheet
- 250 ml water blood temp
- 40 ml honey
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 kg unbleached all-purpose flour
- 50 ml olive oil
- 125 ml milk
- Dissolve honey in the warm water.
- Add yeast and let it dissolve and start to foam.
- In a large bowl, mix together salt and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Add the yeast mixture, oil, and milk.
- Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together. Then, turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until smooth, adding the remaining flour as needed to create a soft dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Place the dough back in the bowl, and let set, covered, for 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
- When you are ready to cook the flatbread, preheat your oven to 190˚C/375˚F.
- Knock back the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
- Roll the pieces out into circles ¼” thick using short strokes of the rolling pin.
- Place the rolled out flatbread on a greased baking sheet and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes, until cooked through and springy to the touch.
- Remove the cooked flatbread from the baking pan and immediately place them in a paper bag to cool. (The steam from the cooling bread in the bag will keep the flatbread soft and pliable.)
Pita vs Pitta:
So, what was the difference between ‘pita’ and ‘pitta’? It’s kind of like using the word ‘celtic’. If you’re a fan of basketball and from Boston, you’ll know the Celtics (sel-ticks). But, if you come from Scotland or Ireland, then you probably have Celtic (Kel-tick) roots.
How’s that work with pita? Well, pita is a type of pitta. Pitta is a generic term to describe flatbreads, whereas pita is a specific flatbread. I hope that makes sense.
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