Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Lauren. Lauren Wonders, “who invented bread?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Lauren!
Do you love bread? It's an important part of many of our favorite foods. Peanut butter and jelly would be very hard to eat without bread. Can you imagine pizza without a crust? Messy! Hamburgers and hot dogs just wouldn't be the same without buns, either.
If you like Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food, there's one type of bread you're probably already familiar with. What is it? The pita, of course!
Traditional pita bread is a round bread with a pocket in the middle. Pita bread must be cooked in ovens that can get extremely hot (at least 700° F). The pocket in a pita is made by steam, which puffs up the dough during the baking process. When the bread cools, it becomes flat again but a pocket is left in the middle of the bread.
The pockets in pita bread make them perfect for making sandwiches, wraps, and other types of recipes you can hold in your hand. For example, pita bread is used for popular Middle Eastern dishes, such as gyros and falafel.
The word pita comes from the Greek word meaning “flat" or “solid." It is the western word used to describe Arabic bread called khubz, which is a basic flat, round, wheat bread usually baked in a brick oven.
Pita bread is often cut into smaller pieces and used to scoop sauces and dips, such as olive oil and hummus. In this way, they're used like tortilla chips. Some manufacturers have started to use pita bread to make special seasoned pita chips that are crunchier and thicker than regular chips.
In the western world, though, pita bread has become popular due to its pocket that makes it convenient to use to make sandwiches. Almost anything, from meats and cheeses to vegetables and salad, can turn a pita into a tasty sandwich.
Pita pockets are used in many other places around the world to make traditional sandwiches. For example, Greek cooks often use pita pockets to make souvlaki or gyros. Likewise, Turkish cooks often use pitas to wrap kebabs.