What Is the Difference Between Naan & Pita Bread?

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What started out as a simple concept of flour, water and heat now has many varieties and recipes.
What started out as a simple concept of flour, water and heat now has many varieties and recipes. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Bread is an ancient food. Many food historians cite its beginnings as far back as 4,000 B.C., originating from Mesopotamia. Once it was discovered that ground wheat, mixed with water and heat, could produce flat breads, the tradition was started. The concept of bread loaves is said to have been discovered by accident with the combination of yeast and high temperatures.

Naan Recipe

The recipe for naan calls for a combination of wheat and bread flours, salt, water, honey or sugar, yogurt, milk and butter. The dough is left for some time in a heated area to grow in volume before being cooked. From the huge dough ball, smaller portions are pulled out and spread or rolled out before being put on the heat. It is a sensitive combination and can easily be too crunchy or too leathery. To have different flavors, you can add onion or garlic to the flattened dough.

Naan is made from an initially large dough ball.
Naan is made from an initially large dough ball. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Naan in Detail

Naan comes from the Persian "non" which is the word for bread. It is considered a bread because it is made of the same ingredients, but the method of preparation is very different. Naan is specially made in clay ovens to give it its unique consistency and taste. Most other breads can adapt to being made in conventional ovens, but naan has to be prepared in a clay oven.

Onion, garlic and potatoes can be added into the dough or after the dough is rolled out to create a variety of flavored naans.
Onion, garlic and potatoes can be added into the dough or after the dough is rolled out to create a variety of flavored naans. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Pita Bread Recipe

Pitas are much simpler to make than naan. To make a pita you only need flour, salt, oil, water, sugar and yeast. Pita bread features a plain flavor so there are no additional ingredients. Pitas are often used it as a sandwich wrap. Replace a bun with half a pita and you have a convenient, healthy sandwich. The pita can be cut in half and then separated in the center the way hot dog rolls or bagels are.

Pitas are commonly found in Greek food like Gyros.
Pitas are commonly found in Greek food like Gyros. (Image: Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Pita Bread in Detail

Pita bread origins go back to Egypt where it was discovered that flour, which was ground wheat, could mix with water and be heated at high temperatures. Pita is used commonly in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisine. It can be eaten alongside the main course, or can be used as a bread roll and filled with vegetables, meats and dressings.

Eating pita sandwhiches is a healthy alternative to traditional bun and meat sandwiches.
Eating pita sandwhiches is a healthy alternative to traditional bun and meat sandwiches. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

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