A delicious, whole wheat flatbread with a wonderful taste and a distinct aroma!
Ok. I have to start this post with a little info for my non-Greek friends.
Those wonderful flatbreads in the picture are an indispensable part of Greek tradition. And we only enjoy them once a year. Unfortunately… But then again, that’s how traditions remain alive and meaningful, don’t they?
This is the kind of bread that accompanies our lunch on the first day of Lent or Clean Monday. (You guessed correctly, it’s today!) Traditionally, “lagana” was a kind of unleavened, crispy bread but throughout the years its making was transferred from homes to bakeries and a leavened version became more common.
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and tradition asks for daytrips in the great outdoors, picnics and the flying of kites. Our tables are filled with all kinds of traditional, meatless dishes like taramosalata (fish roe dip), dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves), local seafood recipes and of course freshly-cut salads, pickles, legumes, olives and halva (tahini confection).
Regardless of religious beliefs, don’t you think it’s a great idea to be celebrating the beginning of a change in your eating habits? Clean Monday can be a great opportunity to clean our eating and stop any food indulgences related to holidays and cold winter months. That’s why I created this wonderful whole wheat lagana recipe! Which is really easy to make, especially if you have a breadmaker.
A flatbread with a distinct aroma of anise and semi-sweet, white wine, and a wonderful whole-wheat taste!
Whole wheat flatbread (Greek lagana)
What you need:
• 1 ¼ cups water
• 1 tbsp anise
• 1 cup semi-sweet, white wine
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1 ½ tsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp salt
• 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
• 1 ½ cups bread flour
• 2 ½ tsp dry yeast
• (optional) white and/or black sesame for the surface
What to do:
1. Put the water and anise seeds in a small saucepan and boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Strain, discard the anise and let the scented water cool slightly.
2. With a breadmaker: Put the scented water in the breadmaker and add the rest of the ingredients in the order they are written. Set it to a dough cycle and start it.
2. Without a breadmaker: Using a whisk, sift together the two flours. Put them in the bowl of a standing mixer with the dough hook on. Sprinkle the sugar and the yeast over them. Add the wine, olive oil, salt and water. Start the mixer in medium speed and beat for 5-10 minutes or until it becomes a soft, elastic dough that does not stick to the bowl walls. (If you don’t have a mixer with dough attachment, you can always knead it by hand.)
3. Place the dough in a clean bowl sprayed with olive oil, cover it with a clean towel and let the dough rise in warm environment for one hour.
4. Put the dough on a lightly-floured surface and divide it in two parts. Using your hands, flatten out each part to a flatbread less than an inch thick. Put your flatbreads on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Cover with a towel and let them rise for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven at 340°F / 170°C.
6. Brush the flatbreads with a little water and sprinkle the sesame on top. Gently press with your fingertips to create small dents on the surface.
7. Bake for 40 minutes.