local-kiwi-alien

Monday, 19 April 2021

Greek Flatbread

 Lagana is the name of the greek flatbread which is eaten mostly on the first day of Lent.  It used to be unleaven but most bakers put yeast in it nowadays.  The cost of this loaf is more than twice that of our daily loaf of bread.  Everyone buys it anyway.  It's tradition


I bought two laganas early that morning, one for a friend and one for us.  They were still warm and the smell of the fresh baked lagana was so enticing I went back home and opened up the bowl of taramasalata I made the day before and half of it disappeared in a hastily chewed instant.  Then I started making my own laganas



These are two rustic loaves I made.  They were far better than the fat flatbread covered in sesame sold by the bakers.  I put sesame seed on some and others I leave plain for those that don't like sesame seeds.


The recipe I use is the same as that for pizza or a loaf of ordinary bread

- 500 grams of white flour 
or
300 grams of white and 200 grams of wholemeal
- a mug of warm water
- 1 dessertspoon of dried instant yeast
- a little salt
a small wine glass of olive oil

Mix, leave to rise.

Then make the flatbread, flattening out the dough onto a large tray, forming into an oval shape.  Push your fingers in to make lots of little bumpy holes.  Brush with more oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake about 20 minutes.

The dough should not rise very much.  We do not cut the bread but break off pieces and share it around while it is still warm.  K will still eat it the next day but its too hard and dry for me.

When I first came to Greece almost 50 years ago no-one ate olive oil on Clean Monday and there was no yeast in the lagana.  I prefer today's cuisine.  It has changed a lot over the last 20 years.

On Clean Moday, the first day of Lent and a huge holiday, my father inlaw made taramasalata, fish roe dip, with salty fish roe, soaked bread and lemon juice.    Nowadays it is much smoother with lots of olive oil added.  On the table back then would be lettuce leaves and spring onions no dressing or new fangled sauces, bbqued octopus, the fish roe dip, spiny sea urchins which he would have collected early that morning and maybe some shellfish, cockles or limpets, given to him by fishermen friends and neighbours. They were eaten raw with a squeeze of lemon juice.  He always reminded us that Lent meant a simple diet and moderation.  Not something we continue these days with a  table laden with various bean salads, fried kalamari, mussels in wine, grilled vegetables in exotic balsamic vinegar and sweets dripping in oil and honey.  Dessert back then was an apple which he would peel and hand around.

I have found a really nice recipe for lagana which uses tahini and ouzo or wine.  I'll make it in a day or two and post that recipe too.  




21 comments:

  1. Moderation?? What's that??
    Your flatbreads look good. I can almost smell them from here. Yum.

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    Replies
    1. Moderation is still a hard lesson to be learnt around here, even during Lent

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  2. Looks and sounds good. We make our own pizza bases without yeast. You just mix half a cup of plain flour with half a cup of self raising flour. Then add enough water to make a dough. This makes one pizza base.

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    1. That's more like 'unleavened'. I must try one of those bases. It's how I used to make a pizza base 40 years ago when my kids were young and I had no idea what to do with yeast

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  3. Strange that it has changed so much even in the last 20 years. All sounds good stuff to eat.

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    1. Life has changed drastically in some respects. It was already changing in the cities and I suppose the next generation getting more education and spreading their wings made it happen faster. My in-laws were bewildered by colour TV

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  4. You are so full of great recipes, I still think you should write a book.

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    Replies
    1. There are quite a few out there but I would like to try. It's getting peace and quiet to write

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  5. The comment by AMY!!! You should write a book. As your Local Kiwi Alien self.

    It would be different, than any "traditional" cooking books, with your experiences of the last 50 years!!!

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  6. Sounds delicious. I occasionally make a similar flatbread which is cooked in a pan, and eaten with humus. So simple, so good.

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    Replies
    1. I made the tahini one yesterday and it was even better.

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  7. Replies
    1. Hot and fresh from the oven it is delicious

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  8. My own father's favorite mantra seemed to be 'everything in moderation'. He lived by it - different food sources but similar vein to your FIL. I can't wait to get your views on the recipe with tahini and try it if you think it worth the effort. My local shopgirl sold me a jar of (expensive) boiethical tahini last week - damn that was good. So good in fact I have been converted from buying it just to make baba ganoush to trying other things and even eating the occasional spoonful just by itself.

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    1. We always used to buy plain tahini but now get the tahini with honey. K eats it every morning on his little 'toasts'. The bread with tahini was darn good. Recipe is in the pipeline

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  9. I always believed Lent was synonymous with abstinence and moderation. It is hard to believe, in a country with so much traditional religion, that things could be changing so fast. I guess that is "progress" for you!

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    Replies
    1. Life was very different 30 years ago but once that older generation passed away things changed very fast

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  10. Your bread looks wonderful. Things change over the generations don't they.

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