Greek Flatbread-Lagana

Lagana Kathara Deftera

Lagana is a type of flatbread that is eaten in Greece only on Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera). This particular Monday is basically the first day of lent for the Greek Orthodox religion. Nutritionally it is important because it marks the beginning of the 40-day fast, which ends on Easter. It is called “clean” because it was considered a day of cleansing oneself (spiritually) and preparing for the fasting and the mourning. People ate plain fish roe (taramas), bread, beans (without olive oil) and other vegetables.

Apart from that may go to park or to the countryside, fly kites and dance while enjoying these vegan dishes (with the exception of seafood). Today we eat taramosalata (fish roe dip made with olive oil and bread) instead of just plain tarama, olives, lagana (bread), shellfish, octopus and halva. The practice of going to the countryside and celebrating is called Koulouma and it’s a relatively recent tradition.

I have shared in other posts how to make the delicious and addictive taramosalata (fish roe dip), go here for a regular version and here for the whole wheat version, and today I am sharing a simple recipe on how to make lagana. Lagana is an unleavened flatbread that is consumed only on this day. Normally it does not contain any yeast, although nowadays most recipes you find do contain yeast. Many recipes include sugar, olive oil, olives etc, but the original one was really just flour, water and sesame seeds. This version contains a small amount of yeast but otherwise it is pretty basic and simple. I also used half whole wheat flour which gives it that heartier taste and extra fiber. You may notice that some laganes are golden, this may be due to the fact that in some recipes they use a yellow type of flower that is made from a specific type of wheat variety. You can use all purpose flour and it will be fine.

This bread is usually consumed with olives and taramosalata. Now, I have to be honest, I can eat a whole loaf and make it a complete meal just by dipping it in the taramosalata and washing it down with some crisp white wine of course!

In Greece this bread is sold at all the bakeries, but if you are not in Greece this recipe can work very well. It does not require a lot of time, and it is really easy.

Whole Wheat Greek Flatbread-Lagana

Whole Wheat Greek Flatbread-Lagana

Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour (I used 2 ½ regular and 2 ½ c. whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ ounce dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ cup warm water (around 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Some olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or your mixer bowl blend the flours.
  2. Mix the yeast in the warm water until dissolved
  3. Add the yeast water to the flour. Than add the salt.
  4. Knead the dough until it is somewhat elastic and can be rolled into a ball, it should unstick from the sides of the bowl. I used my regular mixer with the dough hook un low.
  5. Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in size (this should take about 45 minutes-1 hour). I heated my oven at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) and put the dough there.
  6. In the meantime take a big pan, cover it with wax paper and brush some olive oil on it.
  7. Once it is ready, take the dough separate in two balls and flatten out on the pan in an oval shape. Wet your fingers and poke the dough so there are indentations. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for about 40 minutes.

Photo by Elena Paravantes

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10 Comments

  • Reply Marion March 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Κι εγώ το ίδιο Ελενα. Μπορώ να φάω μια λαγάνα με την ταραμοσαλάτα : )

    Ωραία με το αλεύρι ολικής.

    Καλά Κούλουμα

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD March 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      Σε ευχαριστώ Marion! Επίσης!

  • Reply Michael March 29, 2014 at 12:43 am

    Delicious!!!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD March 29, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Thanks Michael!

  • Reply Tanya Stamoulis March 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Thanks for the recipe Elena! I just tried making it over the weekend and it was a lot easier than I expected. We devoured ours with some fresh melitzanosalata courtesy of my mother. YUM!

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD April 1, 2014 at 8:21 am

      Your welcome! Love homemade melitzanosalata

  • Reply Damon February 15, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Thanks. This looks lovely – are you using strong bread flour or normal all purpose flour?

  • Reply Greek Stewed Octopus in Tomato Sauce with Pasta February 19, 2018 at 8:59 am

    […] on the first day of lent known as Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday). We eat that along with the lagana (Greek flatbread), taramosalata and […]

  • Reply Mary Wood February 5, 2019 at 2:21 am

    Hi Elena,

    in your recipe you use 5 cups flour (2 ½ regular and 2 ½ c. whole wheat – is it possible to substitute barley flour instead of the regular flour or does this change the recipe too much?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN February 5, 2019 at 8:21 am

      Hi Mary, I have not tried it with barley flour, so I am sure how much it would change the recipe.

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