Mediterranean Bread is an umbrella term used for different kinds of breads eaten in the Mediterranean region, which covers areas adjacent to the Mediterranean sea, which include Mesopotamian, Greek, Iberian, Illyrian, Levantine, Roman, Gallic, Egyptian, Carthaginian, Phoenician, Thracian, Macedonian, Jewish, Arabic, Armenian, Albanian, Berber and Turkish regions. Bread is basically prepared by cooking a dough made of flour and water. Additional ingredients suggested by variations of the Mediterranean bread recipe often include fat, salt, leavening agents and others like egg, milk, sugar, fruit, vegetables, etc.
History of Mediterranean Bread
Bread has been a part of Mediterranean diet since thousands of years. Flatbreads have been known to exist since ancient times, as they needed no oven or even utensil for their baking. By 997 A.D., the term ‘pizza’ had come into usage in Medieval Latin, and a Galette flatbread was named as pizza in Naples in the 16th century. Various other forms of breads, usually leavened breads prepared by baking, have found mention in various chronicles of history, and are still popular in different parts of the Mediterranean region.
Types of Mediterranean Breads
Here are some of the popular types of breads from the Mediterranean region-
- Pizza: This type of bread was originally considered a food for the poor, and became prominent after the Neapolitan chef named Raffaele Esposito introduced a Mediterranean bread recipe for ‘pizza margherita’, with topping of pizza with mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes. It represented the Italian flag’s colors. The dish slowly picked up popularity amongst various sections of the society and is now popular globally.
- Pita: It is a round shaped bread which has a ‘pocket’ that is created by steam in the preparation process. The bread puffs up while baking, and after removal from the oven, the deflated bread has pockets, which is often filled with various ingredients to give it a sandwich-like form. It is often eaten with dips like hummus and other dishes like kebabs and falafel. Pita is the name for bread baked in a brick oven in Arabic, Egyptian and Turkish cultures.
Tzatziki is the name of a dip with which pita is popularly eaten in Greece. Pita-souvlaki and pita-gyros are sandwiches containing souvlaki or gyros, onions, tomatoes, tzatziki, French fries and condiments wrapped up in pita bread.
- Cibatta: It is Mediterranean bread baked with extra virgin olive oil, which is known for its softness and natural flavour.