Food & Wine

Archive for March, 2019

Lagana

Lagana (Λαγάνα) is an ancient Greek flatbread traditionally baked for Clean Monday (Καθαρα’ Δευτερα) –  the first day of the Great Lent. (Clean Monday actually refers to the abstention from sinful attitudes and non-fasting food ). Traditionally, it was prepared unleavened (without the yeast),  like those mentioned in the Old Testament, but leavened lagana is nowadays more common. It is typically flat, oval-shaped, with surface decorated by impressing fingertips.

Sesame seeds are a common topping, and it may also be topped with other herbs, and seasoned with olive oil.  Linguistically, the word lagana comes from the Greek word “ laganon” (in ancient Greek: λάγανον),  which is also the origin of the Italian word lasagna.

Lagana is never cut with a knife but rather broken apart, because iron, the stuff of knife-making long ago, was believed to contain the powers of evil.

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Ingredients:

  • 500 g hard flour (bread flour)
  • 350 ml water, at room temperature
  • 10 g dry yeast
  • pinch of granulated sugar
  • 10 g salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For coating

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • sesame seeds

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 220° C (446° F)
  • Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a mixer’s bowl.
  • Set it aside for 15-20 minutes so the yeast can activate.
  • Add the flour, salt and olive oil.
  • Knead by hand  for at least 10 min.
  • When ready,  transfer  the dough to a bowl.
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 1-2 hours, until it doubles in size.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it in to 2 equal halves.
  • Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on to a working surface.
  • Add your dough, dust with some flour and roll out. If it is too difficult to roll out, dust with some more flour.
  • Form 2 flat oval loaves
  • Transfer to a baking pan along with the parchment. Simply lift the edges of the parchment and transfer.
  • Repeat the exact same process for the other half of the dough.
  • To make the coating, combine the water and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Brush coating over both flatbreads and sprinkle with a generous amount of sesame seeds over the top.
  • Set them aside for 20 minutes, so they can rise again.
  • When they have risen, use your index finger to make indentations all over the dough. This gives the “lagana” its characteristic appearance.
  • Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes. Make sure your oven is properly preheated so that the flatbread can turn out as crunchy as possible.
  • When golden and crunchy, remove from oven and serve it in the traditional Greek manner with Taramosalata (Fish Roe Dip), Potato Garlic Mash and Kalamata olives.

 

 

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