Clean Monday

The act of breaking bread together is rooted deep in history. Whether the custom is one of welcoming strangers, or talking peace; the act of sitting and eating is at hearth of hospitality, and it is heart is bread.

Lagana ‘λαγάνα’ , is a Greek flatbread traditionally baked for ‘Clean Monday’, the first day of the Grecian Lent. It is typically flat, oval-shaped, with surface decorated by impressing fingertips. Shrove Tuesday (Lent eve) in the Anglican calendar is celebrated with pancakes, where as the first day of Lent in the Greek Orthodox calendar is celebrated with this gorgeous bread.

Due to the pandemic there has been a lot of events and traditions which have had to be suspended, or celebrated in a much more low key manner. Sharing with good friends our bountiful harvest is one American tradition we should adopt – “Thanksgiving”. Of course no one needs an excuse or reason to share; we should with a good heart and a cheery disposition.

Sharing with my Greek friends the joy of season

Lagana is fairly simple to make and tastes fantastic. I am probably a heretic for suggesting it, but the next time I will be making or having hummus, a loaf will be baked beforehand.

Ingredients

  • 570g strong flour white or wholemeal
  • 300ml lukewarm water at 30 Celsius 
  • 7g dried yeast 
  • 10g salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Glaze

  • sesame seeds 
  • 100ml water 
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Method

  • Using a stand mixer, add 100 g of flour along with lukewarm water & yeast mixing until the ingredients are evenly combined. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  • After the  dough  has risen  place the bowl back into the mixer adding the remaining flour along with salt and knead the  dough for 10 minutes at a medium speed.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel again, and let the  dough rest for 30 to 40 minutes in a warm place as before.
  • Meanwhile line baking trays with parchment paper and sprinkle sesame seeds on to the paper so that the dough will have a covering when placed.
  • After the dough has rested return the bowl to the kitchen mixer and knead for a further 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the  dough out and divide half. Place each  dough portion on a prepared baking tray & rollout and shape the  dough either a round or an oval shape.  The dough should be approximately thickness of 3 cm.
  • Let the dough rest for another 30 to 40 minutes in a warm place.
  • Prepare the glaze for the bread. Mix together honey and water until the honey has combined completely 
  • As soon as the dough has rested, brush with the honey water and sprinkle sesames seeds on top.
  • Make dimples with your finger tips.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 180C for 35-40 minutes.

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