As an extreme lover of food, there is nothing I like to do more than to learn about new types of food. I love to cook, which I am not very good at, and being a college student I usually have a tight schedule so I have to turn to foods that are quick and easy to prepare. Pita bread and hummus is one of my favorite, in between class, snacks
Where did Pita bread come from?
Bread has been a staple food for almost every country for many, many years. According to http://amounpita.com/history.php, the bread that many of these countries made was very different than the bread we are familiar with today. The bread that used to be made was, as we know today, flat bread. No yeast or grains were used to make the bread rise. It is thought that ancient Egyptians accidentally discovered leavened bread when they left a mixture of water and grain in a warm area for an extended period of time. This raised bread that they accidentally made lead to many other types of bread, including pita bread.
The very first actual pita bread that was made is thought to have been produced by the Bedouins. The bread was first made when the Bedouins stopped to eat and made bread by mixing powdered grains and water to make dough and they laid to dough over a mixing vessel and baked it over an open fire. They were then able to not only eat the bread, but use it as a utensil as well, as it had baked around the shape of the mixing vessel creating a spoon like utensil.
Pita bread was first introduced to the United States when Middle Eastern immigrants traveled here in the 1970’s. It quickly flourished within the United States due to the absence of shortening and low amounts of sugar, making it low fat. Americans, especially recently, are constantly looking for healthy alternatives in food products. Bread is known to be very fattening and some people choose to go on diets where they completely cut bread out of their diet. With the introduction of pita bread, this was most definitely a healthy alternative that Americans were highly interested in. Not to mention it is delicious!
What to eat with Pita Bread?
One of the things about pita bread is that it can be paired with just about anything. It can even be eaten by itself. One of the most common ways to eat pita is complimenting it with hummus. Growing up my mom used to eat hummus constantly and I was always scared off by the look of it and the texture. Not until I tried it with pita bread did I start to like it. I now eat pita bread constantly, trying out new kinds of hummus just about every time. You can bake the pita before dipping it in hummus or you can simply use the pita bread as is.
According to an article on http://www.thekitchn.com/10-things-to-do-with-pita-bread-203429, some people think of pita bread as just a snack, but using pita bread as a meal has become more common. Pita bread can be made into a breakfast item by topping a warm pita with avocado, egg, veggies, etc. This is a healthy alternative for bagels or toast. Another very popular way of eating pita bread is by stuffing it. You can basically stuff a pita with whatever you like. Stuffing with meat, greens, vegetables, bean salad, chickpeas, and cheese is most common. Also, pita bread can be made into pita chips, which is great for dipping in various sauces and dips as well.
How to make Pita Bread?
How to Make Homemade Pita Bread
What You Need
1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
Cast iron skillet (for stovetop baking)
Baking sheet or a baking stone (for oven baking)
1. Form the Pita Dough: Mix the water and yeast together, and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil (if using). Stir until a shaggy dough is formed.
2. Knead the Dough: Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. It’s better to use too little flour than too much. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading.
3. Let the Dough Rise: Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it’s coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.
At this point, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.
4. Divide the Pitas: Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap wrap until you’re ready to bake them.
5. Shape the Pitas: Using a floured rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as your oll to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if its starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough. (Once you get into a rhythm, you can be cooking one pita while rolling the next one out.)
6. To Bake Pitas in the Oven: While shaping the pitas, heat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat. If you don’t have a baking stone, place a large baking sheet on the middle rack to heat.
Place the rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone or baking sheets (as many as will fit), and bake for about 3 minutes. I’ve found it easiest to carry the pita flat on the palm of my hand and then flip it over onto the baking stone. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully ballooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.
Recipe from: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-pita-bread-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-90844