30 days of GF is on air!!! At last, first post and recipe. Super excited, I sat down in front of my laptop to write my first lines and to decide about the first recipe. It took me 3 whole days, guys! No joke! Frozen in front of my laptop looking at the empty screen, the walls, and the view outside my window. Almost impossible to choose from a tremendous variety of recipes. Which is the best one to start with?
There is a story behind every and each one of Greek recipe mainly because this cuisine is intimately related with the country’s history and tradition. Let me explain what I mean. Imagine a cauldron (without the witch). We tossed in it culinary tradition of some 4.000 years, temperate climate, unparalleled biodiversity, varied topography, religion that shapes people’s eating habits and …voila. You’ve got the mixture of the Mediterranean Greek cuisine. Do you see now the dilemma facing the decision about my first recipe?
Nevertheless, I made up my mind and I am thrilled to share it.
We are in the middle of Orthodox Christian Great Lent and a few more weeks till Easter and this is the time to purify our body, soul and mind through prayer and fasting. During that period the religious Greeks abstain from foods deriving from animals, their meals are humble and they thank the Lord for the food on their table. This way of living during Great Lent has an impact on food preparation and cooking of every meal, even in bread.
Take Lagana, a sesame flatbread, as an example. It is important to remain flat because that’s how it remains humble, otherwise a puffy bread symbolizes the arrogance and this attitude isn’t accepted during Great Lent. So I choose this bread because I find quite interesting the reflection/expression of faith over food especially when we enjoy unique heavenly tasteful outcomes!
Lagana flatbread is usually made the first day of Great Lent called Clean Monday or Ash Monday. It is easy to prepare mostly because women had to devote their time in other important tasks. It was the day of cleaning their pots and pans using wood ash in order to remove any grease from them….and praying of course.
So shame to eat that delicious bread only once in the year and that it is going to change here and now. Add a healthy, easy and versatile bread to your main recipe list and you will not regret it.
I will share with you my favorite version of lagana flatbread enhanced with tahini. Tahini will change the texture of the crust and provide a rich flavor far better than the one in basic bread. It doesn’t really matter what kind of flour you are going to use because I assure you that it will be delicious and crunchy either way.
So, you’ve got opened packages of flour, some honey and tahini in your pantry? Make a delicious bread in a short while and get a huge bonus from it. Because you can easily make bread sticks, pizza (use this bread instead of pizza dough), croutons for soups and salads and it is perfect for sandwiches as well.
Let’s jump in!!!
- 4 ½ cups flour (combine strong white flour, bread flour, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour. I used 2 cups strong white flour, 1 cup whole wheat and 1 ½ cup all purpose)
- 2 cups of lukewarm water
- 10 g dry yeast (2tsp)
- 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For coating:
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup white sesame
- 2-3 tablespoons black sesame
- Combine 1 cup of lukewarm water, yeast and honey in a small mixing bowl. Wait about 15 minutes until yeast activates.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 1 cup of lukewarm water, tahini and olive oil. Add the yeast mixture (from the smaller bowl), the salt and gradually the flour.
- Knead by hand for at least 10 minutes or use the mixer’s dough hook. The more you knead the result will be a smooth and elastic dough.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside for 1-2 hours until it doubles its size. When it’s ready, preheat oven to 200°C (392 degrees F).
- Punch down the dough and divide it in two equal parts. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper and start rolling out. Add some flour if the dough is sticky.
- Shape the dough to any size you like. We need a flat dough because this bread isn’t supposed to be puffy. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking pan. Let aside for 20 minutes so that the bread rises again. Repeat the same process with the other half part of the dough.
- For the coating stir the water and sugar over both flatbreads. Sprinkle white and black sesame.
- Use your index finger to make small holes (like “craters”) all over the dough. This technique keeps the dough flat and gives to the bread a distinctive appearance.
- Place the baking pan in the middle of your oven and bake at 200°C (392 degrees F) for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s ready when golden and crunchy.