National Pita Day Date in the current year: March 29, 2024

National Pita Day If you love Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine, you should observe National Pita Day on March 29. This fun holiday celebrates a type of yeast-leavened flatbread popular in many cuisines of the Mediterranean and Levant region.

Pita, also spelled pitta (primarily in British English), is a yeast-leavened flatbread baked from wheat flour. There are two main versions of pita: with an interior pocket and without one. The former is known as Arabic bread, and the latter is sometimes referred to as Greek bread. In the Western world, the term “pita” is sometimes applied to various flatbreads that have different names in their local languages.

Pita with a pocket is the most common type of pita. The pocket forms during the baking process due to high temperatures: the water in the dough turns into steam, causing the dough to puff up and form a cavity. When the bread is the removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the pita once it deflates. The bread then can be opened to create a pocket.

Pita is typically used to scoop hummus, baba ghanoush, olive oil with za’atar and other dips and sauces, or as a wrap for dishes such as gyros, shawarma, sandwiches with meat or falafel, etc. It can also be toasted and served as a breakfast food, cut into pieces and baked into crispy chips, and even used as a pizza crust.

The origins of National Pita Day are unclear, but the holiday has been mentioned on social media since at least 2021, and it has been celebrated by American and Canadian fast food joints. But do you really need to know who came up with the idea of celebrating National Pita Day in order to enjoy delicious flatbread with hummus and other dips or as sandwich bread? Celebrate the holiday by buying some pitas or baking your own flatbread at home, and don’t forget to post about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalPitaDay.

If you decide to try your hand at baking pitas at home, maybe this pita recipe will come in handy. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup warm water, 1 packet (2 ¼ tsp) instant yeast, ½ tsp sugar, and ¼ cup whole wheat flour. Whisk together and let sit for 15 minutes (until the mixture becomes puffy and foamy on top).

Add 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, and 1 ½ tsp fine salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir together until shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a clean smooth surface and knead vigorously. The dough should get less sticky as you knead; if it feels too sticky, sprinkle it with a little flour. In about 5 minutes, the dough should become soft.

Grease the inside of a clean, dry mixing bowl with some olive oil. Transfer the dough into the bowl and turn to coat it in oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 90 minutes (until the dough doubles in volume).

Preheat your oven to 500 ˚F. Punch the dough down, transfer it onto a clean smooth surface, and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, then cover your future pitas with a damp kitchen towel and let them sit for 15 minutes. Then roll each dough ball into a disk less than ¼ inch thick. Let the disks rest for 10 minutes before putting them in the oven. Bake your pitas 2–3 at a time on a pizza stone or a baking sheet on the bottom rack for about 2 minutes or until puffed.

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