Today is Kathara Deftera, which means ‘Clean Monday’ and it is the first day of Greek Orthodox Easter Lent. Traditionally, Lagana (Λαγάνα) is baked and eaten today.
Normally, the sky would be filled with kites of every size, shape and colour and kids along with their parents would be trying to fly them as high as they possibly can. Unfortunately due to the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, this is not allowed to happen this year.
Kathara Deftera means no red or white meat, fish, dairy products, or eggs are permitted but you can enjoy shellfish and anything else that doesn’t have any blood or is related to animal products.
Traditionally, foods that are consumed today in Greek households are octopus, prawns, calamari, halva, taramosalata, skordalia, olives and the main one is Lagana.
Lagana is a Greek flatbread that has a crunchy crust and a soft and airy inside.
Here is my family's lagana recipe which has been passed down from generation to generation.
This recipe makes two loaves.
- 25g of fresh yeast
- 3 cups of lukewarm water
- 1kg of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 100g of sesame seeds for sprinkling
Steps to make Lagana
- For the easiest and most delicious lagana, dissolve the yeast into a little bit of water and let it sit until slightly foamy.
- In another bowl, place the flour and make a well in the centre. Add in the activated yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of water. Mix thoroughly.
- Slowly add the third cup of water and knead the mixture with your hands. The dough should be smooth, soft and pliable. The more you knead, the fluffier the lagana will become.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl covered for one hour, or until the dough is double in size.
- Dust the bench lightly with flour.
- Place the dough on the bench and knead for another 5 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and place onto lightly oiled baking sheets.
- Shape each dough into a round or oblong loaf. Brush with more oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Take one lagana at a time and carefully make indentations into its surface using your fingertips.
- Place the baking trays into the oven and allow to bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool, and tear away! Enjoy.
Kali Sarakosti all!