Pita bread

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BJames
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2004/11/08 10:38:51 (permalink)

Pita bread

I have a question regarding Pita bread, yesterday I had dinner at a Persian restaurant and the pita bread they served was very thin and tough. A couple of years ago I had bought some from a Lebanese bakery and it was the same consistency well. Not at all like the soft, thicker bread I normally get in Mediterranean restaurants. I wrote off the bakery experience as just a bad batch of pita but am now wondering if there really is a difference between Middle Eastern bread and that from the countries like Greece. Can anyone shed some light on this subject? Thanks
#1

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    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/08 20:19:34 (permalink)
    Pita is a rather generic term describing flat bread from country to country. Sometimes it's spelled pitta, peda or pida. Khoubz is another name, among many other names, even though there are similarities. It is very different in various parts of the eastern mediterranean and central Asia. Some pita is very thick and soft, others is very thin and floppy. Some have pockets, others don't. I live 2 blocks from a Palestinian bakery and their pita is pretty tender and almost sweet. If I go several miles east to the Iraqi bakery, it's not as tender and definitely not as sweet. And Armenian bread is a whole other item. There really is a difference in different countries. And also different pitas for different uses. Sandwich pita may be very different from a pita served with ashe, persian soup. I think sometime ethnic restaurant owners just call the bread pita so as not to confuse American diners. What's pita in one place may be called saj, khoubz or lahvosh in others. And it can all be very different. Hope this helps.
    #2
    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/08 20:22:23 (permalink)
    I just noticed you were from St. Louis. Did you eat at Cafe Natasha in UCity? Haven't been there for awhile, are they still there on the Loop?
    #3
    Jennie
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/11 22:58:53 (permalink)
    I expressed surprise to my husband here that you had such ethnic bakeries in Kansas City, MO. He said that the midwest has actually got a very high proportion of Middle Eastern and other ethnic peoples, and that the highest numbers are in Michigan. Thinking back, my cousin did take Arabic at Michigan State before going to Egypt for her Anthropology degree at AU. Now, of course, she runs a fish farm.

    I love ethnic foods of most any type, and have felt blessed to be living near D.C. with its obvious multicultural atmosphere. (Although my idiot Governor says "multiculturalism is bunk". Goob.) But I'm pleasantly surprised that you've got what you've got where you've got it, if you follow me. I live near the town of Damascus (MD), but do you think I can get fresh-baked pita? Ha! lol
    #4
    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/12 14:32:21 (permalink)
    Kansas City has been somewhat diverse for awhile now, and it's getting more so every year. It's great for those of us who eat and cook ethnic food on a daily basis. In between the pork tenderloins and bbq, of course. There are Indian - Pakistani markets, Arabic markets and bakeries, lots of Halal meat markets, many different asian and hispanic stores, a persian market, carnecerias, panaderias, hmong vegetable venders and restaurants that reflect all of the above. I grew up in North Kansas City, which was entirely white bread in the '50s and '60s, but now there are boznian and croation markets, somali immigrants, lots of Iraqi and other middle eastern people. It's so much more interesting now. 1 1/2 blocks from where I live now are 3 vietnamese restaurants, an Indian restaurant, 2 mexican(chains, unfortunately) a great ethiopian place, a spanish tapas restaurant, 2 chinese, an italian place, 2 delis, one a sub place, the other run by a Yemenite. And a bar that has great bar food and pool! I think I'm leaving some out, but that gives you an idea. But it certainly isn't DC...
    #5
    Willly
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/12 15:10:27 (permalink)
    Lebanese bakeries? Why bring Dick Cheney's daughter into this?
    #6
    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/12 15:23:06 (permalink)
    No pita bread in Damascus MD? Lebanese bakeries and Dick Cheney's daughter? I'm slow today, I just now got that all!
    #7
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Pita bread 2004/11/12 17:10:39 (permalink)
    Was that roadfood humor?

    carl reitz
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    carlton pierre
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    RE: Pita bread 2005/02/20 23:45:43 (permalink)
    The Sitar, an Indian restaurant in Knoxville, has excellent naans. I could make a meal off them alone.
    #9
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Pita bread 2005/02/28 19:28:19 (permalink)
    Zataar, you must live in that area of KC ( I can't remember the name of it) where all the ethnic restaurantrs/shops are. I had lunch at a great Ethiopian (speaking of good bread)restaurant there. I'm curious, are there any shops that sell Pakistani clothing. i really like an outfit called shalwar kamiz, basically a very long shirt and "pants". I've only found them in Chicago.
    When I was in Pakistan there were no eating utensils essentially. You ate your food using the bread or naan/chapatti as your utensil. if you are a native you do it with only one hand.
    #10
    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2005/03/02 15:52:49 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by carlton pierre

    Zataar, you must live in that area of KC ( I can't remember the name of it) where all the ethnic restaurantrs/shops are. I had lunch at a great Ethiopian (speaking of good bread)restaurant there. I'm curious, are there any shops that sell Pakistani clothing. i really like an outfit called shalwar kamiz, basically a very long shirt and "pants". I've only found them in Chicago.
    When I was in Pakistan there were no eating utensils essentially. You ate your food using the bread or naan/chapatti as your utensil. if you are a native you do it with only one hand.


    The area I live in is the Volker neighborhood. The street that the restaurants and vintage stores are located on is West 39th Street. I do love the Ethiopian place, Addis Ababa. As far a Pakistani apparel, there are several shops in South Kansas City that more than likely sell what you're talking about and Indian Emporium in Overland Park, KS probably does, the owner is from Yemen and his wife is Pakistani. Did you live in Pakistan long? I love the food, but would liked to have eaten it at the source. Pakistan, Yugoslavia and Syria were my food travel dreams, but alas, politics and wars have changed all of that. That's very cool that you were able to have had the experience.
    #11
    1bbqboy
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    RE: Pita bread 2005/03/02 19:59:51 (permalink)
    Z, how do those 3 cuisines connect to you? What interesting choices.
    How would you describe Syrian Food?
    #12
    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2005/03/05 17:34:13 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    Z, how do those 3 cuisines connect to you? What interesting choices.
    How would you describe Syrian Food?

    The complexity of Syrian/Lebanese and Pakistani food is what appeals to me. Layer upon layer of flavors. Yugoslavia was a roadfood dream. It had 5 distinct regions of cuisine, German/Austrian, Balkan, Middle Eastern, Greek/Macedonian and Italian/Istrian, but made unique by the Yugoslavians of those ethnic backrounds. Pretty much like here. Not only do I regret not getting to eat in those places, but also not getting to cook there. Someday maybe.....
    #13
    zataar
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    RE: Pita bread 2005/03/05 17:47:28 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by bill voss

    Z, how do those 3 cuisines connect to you? What interesting choices.
    How would you describe Syrian Food?

    The complexity of Syrian/Lebanese and Pakistani food is what appeals to me. Layer upon layer of flavors. Yugoslavia was a roadfood dream. It had 5 distinct regions of cuisine, German/Austrian, Balkan, Middle Eastern, Greek/Macedonian and Italian/Istrian, but made unique by the Yugoslavians of those ethnic backrounds. Not only do I regret not getting to eat in those places, but also not getting to cook there. Someday maybe.....
    #14
    dexmat
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    RE: Pita bread 2009/02/05 16:18:45 (permalink)
    I guess I'm a little late for this thread but I thought I'd throw this in anyway.  The bread I most often encounter at Persian restaurants is called taftoon and it's not really a pita, too thin and not baked in such a way as to be splittable, I think. 

    Here's a real good picture of what I usually encounter.

    And here's a demonstration of how it's produced.

    It's usually rectangular or at least an elongated oval rather than round and looks like a pizza crust baked on a cookie sheet.  One restaurant here serves an even thinner version, round, with slits like a pie top.  It's like an over-sized hot, fresh cracker.  I think that's what's known as lavash.
    #15
    SuperSoCal6787
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    RE: Pita bread 2009/05/28 18:18:15 (permalink)
    I love pita bread!!
    #16
    NYPIzzaNut
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    RE: Pita bread 2009/05/28 19:09:07 (permalink)
    Jennie

    I expressed surprise to my husband here that you had such ethnic bakeries in Kansas City, MO. He said that the midwest has actually got a very high proportion of Middle Eastern and other ethnic peoples, and that the highest numbers are in Michigan. Thinking back, my cousin did take Arabic at Michigan State before going to Egypt for her Anthropology degree at AU. Now, of course, she runs a fish farm.

    I love ethnic foods of most any type, and have felt blessed to be living near D.C. with its obvious multicultural atmosphere. (Although my idiot Governor says "multiculturalism is bunk". Goob.) But I'm pleasantly surprised that you've got what you've got where you've got it, if you follow me. I live near the town of Damascus (MD), but do you think I can get fresh-baked pita? Ha! lol
    Names can fool you - look at me - I am in Sardinia OH and there is not an Italian restaurant in sight and folks here think the local gas station bakes good pizzas.


    #17
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