Pita and flatbread are both types of bread that can be used as side dishes for many meals.
Although they are similar, some notable differences exist in how they are created.
This article will cover what each is and describe the differences between the two.
What is Pita Bread?
Pita bread is a flatbread popular in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Greek cuisines. It can be used in a variety of dishes, particularly with gyros, and can also be used with dips.
Like other flatbreads, it has a neutral taste with a light texture. It is usually rather chewy and a little dry, making it perfect as an accompaniment to bolder flavors.
The history of pita bread dates back to the Stone Age in modern-day Jordan. Approximately 4000 years ago, it became a key part of Mesopotamian meals. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word “πίττα” or “pitta”.
How to Make Pit Bread
The modern form of pita bread is made from flour, yeast, and water. It is known for its pockets, which people often stuff with food. It is a leavened bread, meaning that it contains yeast to help it rise. Some recipes include salt, sugar, and other herbs and spices.
To bake the bread, cooks must first mix together the ingredients. Next, they wait for the yeast to cultivate and form the dough. After this, they knead the dough and allow it to rise. Finally, they divide, shape, and cook the bread at temperatures between 232C to 246C (450F to 475F).
During cooking, the water evaporates and creates a pocket in the dough. This can be filled with various food.
Types of Pita Bread
There are various types of pita bread, each with unique qualities. The pocketless variety is often used for Greek food, specifically for dishes such as gyros and souvlaki.
This variety is usually thicker than the one with the pockets. Alternatively, pita bread with pockets is often used in Middle Eastern cuisine.
These dishes include hummus, falafel, and baba ganoush. There are also several other types of pita bread, including whole wheat, gluten-free, white, and low-carb.
What is Flatbread?
Flatbread is one of the earliest types of food made by humans, dating back to ancient Egyptian civilizations and beyond.
Flatbread comes in different forms worldwide, with almost every culture having its own take on this popular food.
These include pizza from Italy, Bazlma from Turkey, Bolani from Afghanistan, Bing from China, Chapati from India, Roti prata from Singapore, and Arepa from Colombia.
How to Make Flatbread
Flatbread is a form of unleavened bread, meaning it does not use yeast. Essentially, this means that any bread is flat, as a lack of yeast stops the bread from rising.
Instead, bakers mix flour, salt, and water to make traditional flatbread. Today, most flatbread is a mix between naan bread and pita bread.
Types of Flatbread
Flatbread can be used in various dishes as a rather simple dish. Most notably, European pizzas are made from flatbread. It can also be used to make a sandwich, as it can hold many foods.
Differences Between Pita and Flatbread
Origins and Cuisine
Pita bread first emerged approximately 4000 years ago in modern-day Jordan. Unlike flatbread, it is mostly used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Greek cuisine
Flatbread has an older history, as there is evidence of bakers making it in Egypt approximately 6,000 years ago. It has spread worldwide, with almost every country having its own take on it. It can be used for almost any dish.
Although these two types of bread look very similar, there are some slight differences in their appearance. However, their sizes can vary depending on how they are used.
After it rises, pita bread is usually twice as big. It is softer and slightly fluffier than flatbread. Once cooked, it is golden.
Flatbread looks slightly different. Since it is unleavened, it will stay the same size after being cooked. Additionally, it is harder and slightly more rigid than pita bread. However, it, too, is golden after being cooked.
The base ingredients for flatbread and pita bread are the same. These are flour, water, and salt. However, as pita bread is leavened, it will also contain yeast to help the bread to rise.
Traditionally, pita bread does not have other seasonings.
Since flatbread is unleavened bread, it does not require a leavening agent. Unlike pita bread, most bakers will include other seasonings to enhance the flavor of flatbread.
As they have almost the same ingredients, the preparation process of these types of bread is relatively the same. However, pita requires extra time to rise, whereas bakers must leave flatbread to rest before kneading it.
Similarly, most bakers use their hands to spread pita bread, whereas they usually use a rolling pin to flatten flatbread.
Again, their tastes are almost exactly the same, although there are some slight differences. Since pita is leavened, it is slightly softer and more flexible than flatbread. Its traditional lack of seasonings also makes it more neutral than flatbread.
In comparison, flatbread is harder and tougher than pita bread. Its taste depends on the bakers’ seasonings to make it.
Both types of bread are fairly popular, but their usage does vary.
As pita bread is softer, more flexible, and has a pocket, it is often used to wrap certain fillings or as a base for toppings. It can also be used as a dipping bread.
Flatbread is harder, and bakers must use it similarly to regular bread. However, its simplicity means that it can be modified and used as a base for other types of food, such as tortillas or chapatis.
To Sum Up
Although there are rather similar, there are some notable differences between pita bread and flatbread.
Flatbread refers to any bread that is flat, and it can be used as a base for many popular cuisines. Pita bread is often used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Greek cuisine and is softer than flatbread.