What Is Greek Bread?

Eugene P.

Greek bread comes in many shapes and sizes, from round and braided to the hollow pita. It also includes a variety of ingredients, including feta, sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Some Greek bread is made only for certain holidays or at certain times of the year. The bread can be sweet, salty or savory. There is Greek bread for nearly any occasion and one that can be paired with any type of dish.

Pita bread, a type of Greek bread.
Pita bread, a type of Greek bread.

One of the most well known types of Greek bread is the pita. This is unleavened, round wheat flour bread. During the cooking process, steam from the inside of the bread causes it to puff up and create a hollow center. Pita bread is usually cut in half and used to hold food in the pockets as a sandwich. It also can be cut into wedges and toasted to be used as a vehicle for dips or spreads.

Pitas generally have two layers that present a pocket after baking.
Pitas generally have two layers that present a pocket after baking.

There is a type of Greek breadstick called a bastounakia. These are thin strips of bread that have been topped with salt. Like pita bread, they are often used to carry dips, spreads and other appetizers from the table to the mouth.

Bobota is a type of Greek bread that is made from cornmeal, water and honey or orange juice. It was created as a recipe of necessity when Greece's poor residents found it difficult to find more traditional ingredients. It is crumbly bread that is often cut into squares and served with syrup on top.

A popular type of Greek bread is known as horiatiko psomi, which means "country bread". This is dense bread that is made from more than one type of flour and is sometimes made with a sourdough starter. The rustic loaves can accompany many types of meals and goes well with a variety of savory appetizers.

Tyropsomo is a special type of bread. In addition to the standard bread recipe, feta cheese is added to the dough. The result is bread that has a rich texture and a hint of the tang that feta cheese provides.

Greek bread known as mavro psomi, or black bread, is not actually black, unless food coloring is added. It usually is not wheat bread, though. Instead, this term refers to breads made from rye flour or oats. Dark breads are uncommon in most of Greece.

There are three types of Greek breads that are made only for specific holidays. The first is called christopsomo and is leavened bread with lemon, almonds and raisins made only at Christmas. The second is made for New Year's and is sweet bread with a tight crumb called vasilopita. Finally, tsoureki is made for the Easter holiday and is a braided, circular loaf that is flavored with the sap of a bush that grows in the region. As well as baking special breads for the holidays, there also are accompanying traditions that are observed when serving and eating these breads.

Greek pita bread is used to make gyro sandwiches.
Greek pita bread is used to make gyro sandwiches.

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Discussion Comments


@discographer-- Greeks eat leavened bread too. They also varieties of the pita that are thicker and more fluffy with various toppings. Greek bread refers to all of these different breads, not just pita bread although this is the most popular.

It's normal for countries close to one another to have similar or common food items. There is certainly a regional cuisine that many countries share. But regardless, their recipes and methods won't be exactly the same.

When I visited Greece, I actually ate more horiatiko psomi than pita bread. It went great with the stews and soups.


I find it interesting that each country refers to its bread by the name of the country, like Greek bread, Lebanese bread and Syrian bread. But they're all talking about the same thing!

This region in general -- Eastern Europe and Middle East-- seems to eat a lot of flatbread. And they are mostly made the same way and look and taste the same.


Hollow pita bread is cool. It's so easy to make sandwiches with it. There is a food stall on our campus that sells gyro sandwiches. The seller uses Greek pita bread to make them. They're so delicious!

I watch the seller prepare them all the time (I eat gyros often) and it's so easy for him. It takes a second to split the bread and open the hollow center. And the best part about this bread is that the filling doesn't fall out while eating. It's like a bread pocket.

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