What is pita bread?
Pita is a Greek term, which means flat. Pita bread is a round, leavened flat bread which is generally made with maida (plain flour), but can also be made with multiple grains and whole wheat to enhance nutrition. Pita breads are pale white in colour, are soft to touch and spongy.
Once pita bread is baked, you will notice that the interior has two layers, which separate to form internal pockets. This pocket occurs because of the high temperatures at which it is baked. During baking, the dough expands very quickly, separates in the middle and creates large bubbles of air inside. Once the bread is baked and cooled, it flattens out but maintains the internal pockets.
Pita bread is commonly cut into halves, which yield two crescent-shaped bread pockets. These pockets are used in a versatile manner as a base for many recipes all around the world.
Also known as
Pita bread cubes
Pita bread is the basic and widely used bread in the Lebanese cuisine. It is used to make falafel, pita pockets, or had with hummus or cut into pieces and tossed into a salad. So to get the perfect cubes, place this pita bread on a chopping board. Take a knife and cut the pita bread into equal sized strips first. Then cut it horizontally at equal intervals to form cubes. Cut them into smaller cubes or bigger cubes as per the recipe.
How to select pita bread
• If buying from a bakery, ask for a freshly-baked batch.
• If buying from a supermarket, check the date of manufacturing and expiry before buying.
• Verify the freshness by feeling whether it is soft and spongy. Also, there should be no mould formation or discolouration.
Culinary Uses of pita bread in Indian Cooking
• Pita bread is traditionally used to prepare the famous Falafel. Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern dish,wherein spiced chickpeas and fava beans are ground, shaped into balls and deep-fried. These patties are then stuffed into pita pockets and topped with a tangy sauce.
• Pita bread is also served alongside hummus, the famous chickpea dip.
• You can grill or toast pita bread till crisp and serve with tossed salads.
• Stuff pita pockets with kebabs or tikkis and have an appetizing snack.
• Stuff the pockets with coleslaw or Russian salad for an alternative to sliced bread sandwiches.
• Loaded with chilled salads, cheese, tandoori tikkas and patties of various varieties to make a complete meal.
• Cut pita into triangles and toast. Season with salt and herbs if required. These pita chips are a healthier alternative to potato chips.
How to store pita bread
• Use them fresh, on the same day they are baked.
• However, if made in excess, it can be packed in plastic film and stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of two days.
Is pita bread healthy?
Pita bread is made of maida which is processed and is thus high in carbohydrates and hence a good source of energy. However, being high on glycemic index scale, it is not advised for people with obesity and diabetes. Further, it is devoid of other essential nutrients as they are lost in the processing of maida. Switching from white pita bread to other alternatives of whole wheat pita bread is a wise choice.