Pita

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Pita, pitta (pronounced /ˈpiːtə/ PEE-tə) or Arabic bread[1] is a round pocket bread widely consumed in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. It is prevalent from North Africa through the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. The "pocket" in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough. As the bread cools and flattens, a pocket is left in the middle.

Contents

Etymology

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the origin of the word pita is Greek (πίτα) and literally means "cake or pie".[2] It appeared in Medieval Greek and in some languages of the Balkans, but earlier origins are difficult to establish.

Origin

Pita is now the western name for the Arabic bread called khubz (ordinary bread), other breads of Arab or Egyptian, or kumaj (a Turkish loanword properly meaning a bread cooked in ashes), all baked in a brick oven. It is slightly leavened wheat bread, flat, either round or oval, and variable in size. The tenth-century Arab cookery book, Kitab al-Tabikh by ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, includes six recipes for khubz, all baked in a tannur, which is like the modern tandoor oven, in its Chapter 13.[3] Historians believe its history extends far into antiquity, since flatbreads in general, whether leavened or not, are among the most ancient breads, needing no oven or even utensil for their baking. The first evidence of flat breads occur in and around Amorite Damascus.[citation needed] In ancient Greek, plakous (Greek: "πλακοῦς"), was the name of a flat cake.[4]

Culinary use

Pita is used to scoop sauces or dips such as hummus and to wrap kebabs, gyros or falafel in the manner of sandwiches. Most pita are baked at high temperatures (450°F or 232°C), causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened into pockets, creating a space for use in various dishes.

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