The Untold Truth Of Pita Bread

We can all agree that bread is pretty great, no matter what kind of bread you prefer. You might like bagels, buttermilk biscuits, or rolls, but no matter how you take your carbs, we are universally united by our general love of bread — and why not? It's a common component of diets around the world. Whether you're using it to make a sandwich, or you're enjoying a roll or breadstick as a side for an entree, it's undeniable that the sky's the limit when it comes to the types of breads available. One of these breads is pita bread, which has its own unique history and features that make it special.

You may be most familiar with seeing bundles of pita bread on grocery store shelves, the flatbread residing alongside all the other delicious bread products in your preferred store's bakery section. You may never have had a reason to try pita bread, especially because baguettes and loaves of garlic bread are much more prevalent in stores. However, there's a lot more to these delicious flatbreads than what you see on the surface, and by the time you finish this article, you may want to jump right up and purchase a pack of pita. But first, here are the untold truths of pita bread.

The exact invention of pita bread is relatively unknown

In some cases, it's possible to trace the origins of specific foods back to the very person who created the dish or dessert. For example, we believe that the beloved Boston cream pie was created back in 1856 by a French chef, and we know that Nestlé was the first to develop and produce white chocolate. On the other hand, there are many foods that have been around for so long that it's impossible to trace the specific date of their creation, much less who was the first person to make the dish. Pita bread falls into the later category; however, we have a general idea of where and when it came into existence.

Pita bread's history can be traced back at least 4,000 years. While we know that pita bread was created in the Mediterranean around the 21st century B.C., it's up for debate as to whether it was first made by the Amorites or Bedouins — two groups of people who lived in the region during the era (via Bodrum). Regardless of who was responsible, or when exactly pita bread was first invented, it has remained a food staple for millennium, and is still an incredibly delicious way to get your fill of carbs.

Pita bread is a good sandwich bread alternative for those with high blood pressure

While bread, pasta, and other carbs are absolutely delicious, they aren't always the healthiest foods around. According to Resperate, unless you're eating something like whole wheat bread, most breads you're purchasing from the grocery store lack substantive nutritional value and may have a surprising amount of sodium in them. Especially for individuals with high blood pressure, this added sodium is worth avoiding. 

It may come as a surprise, but pita bread can serve as a lower sodium alternative to the regular slices of white bread you use for your sandwiches. In comparison to "normal," grocery store-bought sliced bread, pita bread actually has a lower amount of sodium (via HealthPector). This makes it perfect for enjoying wraps and sandwiches. It might not be as healthy as a bowl of fruit, or a smoothie filled with amaranth, but if you're looking to take in a little less sodium in a tasty way, then pita can be a tasty option to look into.

The pocket that pita bread has is created with steam

Bread comes in all shapes and forms, with unique attributes that make them perfect for many different types of meals and dishes, such as being used for bread bowls filled with soup or mac-and-cheese. Even if you don't want a bread-heavy dish, a homemade biscuit or a small tortilla can pair wonderfully with a fresh shepherd salad. No matter what kind of meal you want to make, there's a place and time for any kind of bread you can think of, and that includes pita bread.

Pita bread has a pocket, or "hole" in it that many take advantage of by filling it with meats, vegetables, and other delicious ingredients. This hole in the pita is made at the same time as when the bread is, and is a result of the use of steam (via Wonderopolis). The steam helps form the pocket as the pita bread cooks, and while the bread flattens after being made, the hole remains and allows the bread to function as almost a wrap or bowl of sorts. Regardless, this allows anyone to create various delicious things with their pita bread, and get the most out of their meal.

Some people will wait hours for good pita bread

We've established just how delicious pita bread is, and we'd go to many lengths to get it in our bellies when we crave it: whether it be buying it at a store, or finding the closest food truck that offers pita sandwiches — especially if it was a really good pita sandwich worth waiting for. For some New Yorkers, waiting a long amount of time to get a perfect pita sandwich is a worthy endeavor.

According to the New York Post, people would wait in line for over an hour for a delicious pita meal from Miznon. The pita chain has restaurants all over the globe, with one in New York. Miznon is owned by Eyal Shani, an Israeli chef who has seemingly mastered the art of making pita bread, and making sure each sandwich is filled with delicious foodstuffs, like corned beef or fresh fish. While we aren't sure if we'd have the time to wait for one of these sandwiches, and would feel less inclined to in the rain or snow, the sandwiches look great enough to make us reconsider, and those with enough patience appear to be in for a savory, pita treat.

Pita became popular in the US in the '60s

We're able to trace and look at recent food trends that have risen in popularity, and then either faded into normality or become a thing of the past. The way a food's popularity spreads has developed since the dawn of time, but regardless of how it spread, pita bread has been around for longer than any of us have been around. Flatbread isn't as recent of an invention as cheeseburgers or ice cream cakes, though it wasn't really popular in the United States until much later.

Though pita bread was likely to have been first created in the Mediterranean area in the 21st century B.C., it is assumed that it only entered the mainstream in the U.S. sometime in the 1960s when Harry Toufayan, the son of an Egyptian baker, began to sell it in on the East Coast (via Foodbusiness). Thanks to its lower sodium amount, and all of the nutrients and minerals a serving of pita bread contains, it was actually considered a healthy food, and easy way for families to feed their kids until "low-carb" and "gluten-free" diets became popular. Even though it might not be as healthy as a salad or a spinach wrap, pita has remained a popular and very much loved bread item.

It's not the same thing as naan

While there are many different kinds and forms of bread out there, some are so similar that it's difficult to tell the difference between them. Breads like pita bread have an uncanny amount in common with another kind of bread, and not just because they're both flatbreads. While pita bread is more Mediterranean in origin, there's another bread, more popularly associated with the Indian cuisine, that bears a surprising resemblance to pita bread: naan.

If you were to pull up a photo of a piece of naan, and put it next to a slice of pita bread, you may not be able to tell which was which. However, there are multiple differences between the breads. Naan is larger in size, and the air pockets that a serving of the bread contains are uneven, and spread throughout- it also has more sugar and fiber (via Healthline). On the other hand, pita bread is a bit drier, and has one large pocket that you can fit food into to make into a sandwich. Regardless, both breads are incredible, and whatever you use them for is bound to be delicious.

Pita is easy to make at home

Many people love to cook and bake, though tend to steer away from the more complex recipes that their cookbooks hold — we aren't all Gordon Ramsey levels of professional. Bread in general is actually a lot easier to make at home than many people think, and that includes pita bread. Pita bread is actually much easier to make than you may think it is and only takes a few ingredients to get started. 

Not only does pita bread require minimal ingredients to make, but it also doesn't take a super long time. If you don't know where to look for a good pita recipe, you're in luck. We at Mashed have the perfect step-by-step process to help you along with your pita prep, and make wonderful homemade pita bread in around half an hour, with enough to split and share with your friends or family. Yes, you could go to Trader Joe's or the bakery section in a grocery store, and get the bread from them, but there's something satisfying about making a batch of pita, or any bread for that matter, yourself, and eating it fresh.

There are many pita restaurants specializing in pita in the US

Those who have had pita bread know just how delicious it is. You can do loads with the bread and numerous pita-centric restaurants around the country are capitalizing on this and using pita in unique and delicious ways.

There are several different chains and restaurants across the country that feature pita bread as a central food. The Perfect Pita is one of these along the East Coast, with a menu that not only does pita sandwiches, but pita pizzas, as well. You can get a white pizza, red pizza, or even a hummus pizza from this location. Even if this doesn't fit your fancy, there are still many other restaurants. PitaPit is another chain with many delicious specialty pita sandwiches for you to try, like its Baja Chicken Ranch and several Southwest Fajita meat sandwiches. Florida's Pita is another restaurant with a fresh Mediterranean menu that's just as delicious as any pita sandwich or wrap you could make at home. In conclusion: If you want pita, there are ways to get it.

It was a food favorite of Prince's

Many celebrities are either famous, or extremely infamous for their food preferences. While famous chefs like Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay are known for their appetizing palettes, some celebrities have surprisingly strange food habits. You may wonder what this has to do with pita bread, so sit back as we tell you a fun fact about a particular singer who enjoyed a bit of pita bread as a bite to eat.

The famous singer Prince is most well known for his unforgettable hits like "Purple Rain.What fans might not know is that Prince was a big fan of food and requested everything from hummus and trail mix to a variety of teas in his tour rider. By looking at The Smoking Gun's document recording some of the foodstuffs the singer requested, you can find "1 bag of pita bread" on the list. Generally, if someone asks for an entire bag of something, then it's clear they enjoy it a lot. So the next time you munch on some pita bread, and find yourself listening to some of Prince's old tunes, you'll know that you're enjoying the same bread the iconic musician liked to have waiting for him backstage during concerts.