Lagana bread is traditionally made on Clean Monday (Kathara Defthera) which falls 40 days before Orthodox Easter. It is a flat bread very similar to Italian focaccia bread or Turkish bread. It is made dairy free and it is vegan it is also “nestia” – suitable for fasting.
Fasting begins on Clean Monday. For 40 days we are suppose to avoid eating meat and dairy products and on certain days we also avoid eating oil.
In the olden days, Lagana was made without any yeast and also without oil. However most Greek bakeries prefer to make lagana bread with yeast and olive oil because it helps the bread to be lighter, fluffier and more airy. We have also included yeast and oil in to our recipe.
Lagana bread shaped long and flat. It is rectangular but with rounded sides. We have use black and white sesame seeds in our bread gloss but Laguna is sometime decorated with other herbs and spices such as aniseed.
You can eat Lagana bread with dips and mezze or you can use the bread to make a sandwich.
In Greece, Clean Monday is a public holiday. It is a time for physical and spiritual purification. Many families head out to the park or in to nature and they have picnics and fly kites. Of course all the food that is prepared is vegetarian however seafood is allowed to be eaten today.
LAGANA FLAT BREAD – FOR CLEAN MONDAY
- 300g warm water
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 370g plain flour
- 170g semolina
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 20g olive oil
- 2 tbs honey
- 15g boiling water
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds (white, black or both)
- Weigh in warm water (300g), yeast (2 tsp) and sugar (1 tsp). Heat for 2 minutes/37 degrees/speed1.
- Add all the other bread ingredients: plain flour (370g), semolina (170g), salt (1/2 tsp), olive oil (20g).
- Mix for 10 seconds/speed 6.
- Set the kneading function and then Knead/2 minutes.
- While you are waiting, line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Tip the dough onto a bread mat and wrap it up. If you don't have a bread mat you can tip the dough into a bowl and cover it with glad wrap. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. If you poke the dough it should bounce back.
- Stretch and knead the dough into the lined pan. It is a tradition for this bread to be pressed with fingertips into the dough to leave imprints all over the top.
- Leave it to rise for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, fan forced.
- Combine the honey (2 tbs) and boiling water (30g) together in a cup.
- After the bread has risen, use a pastry brush to cover the dough with the honey bread gloss. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (1/2 cup) and then bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Divide the dough into smaller pieces to make a few smaller sized flat breads.