I’ve been hearing two words thrown around a lot recently. It’s hard to keep up when it seems like even celebrities are using these words interchangeably. Many people don’t know the difference between naan and pita bread, and that’s fair enough because they’re actually quite different. Well, I’m happy to say that after extensively researching this topic, I have put together this blog post with all of your answers. So if you’re curious about the difference between pita and naan then continue reading!
Both pita and naan are flatbreads, but one is thinner while the other is thicker. Pita bread is thinner than naan, but it’s also more chewy and dry. It has a pocket in the middle that you can fill with your favorite ingredients. Naan bread is made from a yeast-based dough. It’s typically thicker and softer than pita, which makes it perfect for dipping in sauces like hummus or curry sauce.
Since pita and naan are such different-tasting foods, I thought it would be fun to find out what makes them different. Basically, pita is the bread for dipping while naan is the bread for eating.
Naan: A type of leavened, oven-baked flatbread. It is made with white flour and yeast. It originated in Persia (Iran) in the 13th century and most likely was introduced to India by Persians. It is also common in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Naan is used as a wrap for kebabs or as an accompaniment with curry. In Persian cuisine, it is usually cooked in a tandoor oven (clay oven).
Pita: A type of leavened, oven-baked flatbread made with wheat flour, salt and water. It is meant to be used for stuffing, and is often stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings. The word “pitaya” is sometimes used interchangeably with pita in the Middle East and Arabic-speaking regions. The word “pita” seems to have originated in Palestine and was later adopted for use in Middle Eastern cuisine by Lebanese Christians. Pita is common in the Middle East, Mediterranean, North Africa, Italian cuisine and South American cuisine. It is sometimes made in a tandoor oven.
The first thing to notice is that naan is one syllable shorter than pita. The question then becomes “why was naan shortened from the longer word pitā?” Well, it turns out that pita is borrowed from Greek, where it is pronounced “peet-ah” and means “cradle.” I don’t know why a cradle ended up meaning bread, but if it is true that you are as old as your stomach, then it makes sense that you would want to cradle your food before eating it.
Naan on the other hand is not related to any foreign languages. It is simply shortened from the word “nāni” which means “care.” I don’t quite know why someone would care for bread, but who knows. Perhaps that isn’t the only meaning of nāni. In the same way that you would care for your child by giving them bread, you might care for your stomach by eating it after it has been cradled.
“The key difference between pita and naan is that pita is made with a leavened dough while the naan is kneaded until it reaches the “window pane” stage of development. The window pane is different from the ‘window’ stage, which includes breaking the dough to add more flour. The window pane is a critical stage that determines whether or not your bread will rise.