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Lagana Recipe: Traditional Greek Clean Monday Bread

With Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα) being around the corner, this is the right time to try this lagana recipe. Lagana (Greek: λαγάνα) is a delicious Greek flatbread that is traditionally eaten only once a year. And that day is Clean Monday, also known as Ash Monday. The first day of Lent in the Greek Orthodox tradition. Ever since I was a kid, I remember myself eating this simple bread on Clean Monday!

In Greece, all bakeries this day sell lagana instead of regular bread. But if you are old fashioned as I am and you like to make everything yourself, this lagana recipe is perfect as it does not require a lot and it is easy to make.

Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera), a moveable holiday always forty-eight days prior to Easter Sunday, is the first day of Orthodox Lent. This is a feast that occurs at the beginning of the 7th week before Orthodox Easter Sunday. This day officially ends the Greek carnival, also called Apokries, and calls Greek Orthodox to prepare for Easter. Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and people usually go out for a picnic and fly a kite. If the weather is good, the whole sky is full of kites! People are outside, eating, drinking wine and flying kites. So, if you are ever in Greece, this is something I suggest you mix with the locals and do what they do! This is beautiful to experience.

When I was a kid, I was spending the whole day on Clean Monday with my parents and friends trying to fly our kite. This was fun. I really cherish these memories.

As we always like to have special Greek food for any occasion, Clean Monday could not be the exception to the rule. There are several Greek foods that people traditionally start eating on that day like taramosalata, gigantes, kalamarakia, halva, and of course lagana. This Greek tradition of going outside and eating these traditional foods is called Koulouma.

Believe it or not, lagana was an ancient Greek food as there are references to it in ancient Greek texts! This lagana recipe is so delicious and I clearly don’t see why this should be eaten only once a year! Once you taste it, you will see that I am right!

This lagana recipe will give you around 2 pieces depending on how big you make them. To make it, you need yeast, flour, salt, wine, Greek olive oil, sugar, and some sesame. Greeks eat lagana with olives and taramosalata.

Lagana Recipe

Lagana Recipe – Ingredients

  • 20g. fresh yeast or 2 tsp yeast powder
  • 1/2 cup of  hot water (40 °) + 2 cups
  • 1 kg of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teacup of sweet wine
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek olive oil plus some extra for greasing the bowl
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Some sesame for topping (there is a variation to this lagana recipe at the end of this recipe. For this lagana recipe variation, you should use 300 g of Greek feta and a some dried oregano.)

Lagana Recipe – Instructions

  1. Start this authentic lagana recipe by boil the anise with water for around 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Allow it to become lukewarm and remove the anise from the water.
  3. Take a bowl and sift the flour.
  4. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the flour.
  5. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the oil and the wine.
  6. Begin to knead and slowly add lukewarm water.
  7. Sprinkle the dough with some salt. Now, place the dough on a clean counter and knead vigorously for around 5 minutes. Put the dough in the bowl and cover it with a towel. Allow dough to rise and double in volume for about 90 mins.
  8. When doubled in size, divide the dough into two parts. Their thickness should be bigger than a finger.
  9. Take a baking pan and cover it with some parchment paper and place the lagana. Press with your fingers a little to make hollows.
  10. Cover again the lagana with a clean towel for around 20 minutes.
  11. Preheated oven to 338°F (170° C).
  12. Sprinkle the lagana with some water and sesame seeds.
  13. Bake the lagana for about 45 until it becomes nicely brown and crispy.

I hope you like this lagana recipe as much as my family does. Stay tuned for more traditional Greek recipes. Kali Sarakosti!

Lagana Recipe – Update 2019

lagana recipe

Why eat lagana only on Clean Monday? My mother has been making this Greek bread all year around. However, there is a twist in this traditional lagana recipe! Instead of toping the lagana with sesame, she covers it with crumbled Greek feta cheese and some oregano! All the other steps remain the same.

Please help me keep my blog by sharing this lagana recipe at your social media pages! Thank you in advance!

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