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Greek Spiced Pita Bread

Updated: Jan 23

Prep: 10 min // Prove: 2 hrs // Bake: 10 min


I know most of you reading this have experienced the Greek street food Souvlaki or Gyros (pronounced “yeeros”) at least once in your lifetimes. Juicy skewered grilled meat (or chips and halloumi for the vegetarians) with cool fresh salad and tzatziki sauce all wrapped in a soft, fluffy and aromatic pita bread. But not only that. Cut in stripes or wedges, and you have a perfect little fluffy spoon to scoop salad juices or dips like tzatziki, paprika dip, hummus, baba ganoush, and many other similar. I bet you all wished you had a decent recipe to bake these amazingly tasty and soft flatbreads at home.

Greek pita bread greek dips

Brace yourself for the best Greek homemade pita flatbread for wraps or dips you will find on the internet!


Origin

“Pita” in Greek means, literally, “flat”. And is not only used for bread but metaphorically for anything lying flat… a flat tire, a drunk person on the floor, and so on… Greek language is just fantastic in creating contexts out of words. However, the origins of pita bread (flatbread) are in ancient Mesopotamia. An area with thousands of years of cooking tradition. Pretty much most of the modern European flatbreads are distant relatives of the Mesopotamian bread which were spread to the West by the expansion of the Persian empire.


Recipe and Substitutes

The Greek pita is all about thickness and fluffiness. The addition of milk is a hack Greeks use for their pitas; not only does milk adds flavour and nutrition (compared to plain water), but milk components weaken the connections between gluten proteins to create a softer texture that can be bent without breaking and nicely wrap all content. In my version, unlike all online recipes, pita bread has no sugar and is spiced with oregano and ground coriander making it more aromatic at every bite. Ground coriander, nutmeg, and allspice (sometimes cumin too) are some of the most popular spices in Greek cuisine, so feel free to swap and experiment.


This pita is nothing like you’ve tried before!


Ingredients (makes 10-12 pitas)

  • 600g bread flour

  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk

  • 200ml warm water

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 tsp ground coriander (or swap it for 1/2 tsp nutmeg)

  • 30gr fresh yeast or 15g active dry yeast (around 3 tsp)

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • Some fine semolina for rolling


Method

  • In a bowl add a splash of warm water and the yeast and stir until dissolved. If you use dry active yeast, let it activate a few minutes before topping up with the rest of the water, milk, and olive oil.

  • In another big bowl, combine the flour, coriander, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour the wet mix slowly into the bowl with the dry ingredients, little by little, and mix with a spatula or with your hand until a dough is formed.

  • Take the dough out on a kneading surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until fluffy and elastic. Note the dough should feel lightweight and sticky and should just leave a trail behind on the bench when kneading. Scrape the remaining from the trail back into the dough, knead again. You know it’s ready when it starts feeling smoother.

  • Brush the walls of the bowl with olive oil, place the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film. Let it prove in a warm environment (26-28c) for around 2 hours. Note the dough will rise almost double its size.

  • After 2 hours of proving, remove the cling film and punch the dough down to deflate. Remove it from the bowl, form a cylinder shape and cut into 10-12 equal pieces.

  • Meanwhile, preheat a griddle pan (or any other anti-stick pan) on medium heat.

  • On a floured surface start rolling the pieces of the dough one by one into round shapes of around 20cm diameter. I use fine semolina for rolling (a) helps the rolling pin glide over the pitas without sticking and (b) gives extra flavour and a rustic look.

  • For healthier pitas, dry fry (no oil in the pan) each pita in a non-stick pan for 1-2 min each side and let them cool down before consuming or stacking.

  • Note that the first pita might look wet and not properly baked, but will get better as the pan reaches and maintains the ultimate temperature.

  • Keep them refrigerated in an air-tight container and consume them within 3-4 days or freeze them once they have completely cooled down.



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