Posts Tagged ‘Greekbread’


Just as lamb on the spit is a symbol of the Greek Easter Sunday so Laganes is a symbol of the start of the Greek Orthodox 40 days of Lent.

Lent for the Greek Orthodox is 40 days of no meat, fish with backbones or dairy. Some will even forgo olive oil and maybe replace it with vegetable oil. I consider this a step too far for me. I am happy to give meat up but diary and olive oil I find tough.

The first day is known as Clean Monday – Kathari Deftera. So big is this day in the Greek calendar that it is deemed a Bank Holiday. Most families take the opportunity to go out on picnics and fly kites. It also seen as the beginning of spring. As with most celebrations a lot of the work falls to the person in charge of the kitchen, as part of Clean Monday is also the day the family kitchen is cleaned to an inch of its life. With everything being taken out of cupboards and washed.

Laganes is eaten nearly in every Greek house today. It is an unleavened bread which has had a vital ingredient added, Yeast, thus no longer making it unleavened. Previously it was made without yeast but now yeast is added. The bread itself is flat looking, with a heavy sprinkling of sesame seeds, which sits on a slightly crusty top. Inside the bread is soft and springy and perfect when sliced into thin fingers. These fingers can then be used to scoop up various dips or eaten with olives. My preference is to use them to mop up any juices from my meal. Today we will be eating Briam and I can’t think of a better mopper upper than Laganes.

This bread is not complicated to make. I prefer to use fresh yeast – it could be just personal choice but I believe it gives the bread a slightly better flavour.

If you want to use dry yeast just use 15g and follow the instructions on the packet. This is sticky dough. I use my Kenwood mixer to start things off and then once the dough has form into one I turn it out onto a floured board and finish kneading it myself.

It may be only eaten once a year in Greece but it tastes so good it’s a crime!

Laganes /Λαγάνες

Makes 2 loaves


30g fresh yeast
300ml lukewarm water
1 ½ tablespoons honey
500g strong flour
7g salt
10 ml olive oil

Sesame seeds to decorate (If you can get hold of black sesame seeds and mix the two, it will add to the flavour).

A little olive oil to grease baking sheet

Gas 6/400F/200C


In a large mixing bowl place the flour and salt. Mix the salt well into the flour. If salt comes in direct contact with the yeast it can kill it off.

Put the fresh yeast in a bowl and add the honey. Stir to combine the yeast. Add the lukewarm water and the olive oil.

Add the fresh yeast and other ingredients to the flour.

Knead for about 10 minutes. This job is much easier if using a dough hook and mixer. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. In other words it should not stick to your hand.

Place in a clean bowl, cover and leave to rise.

Once doubled in size, remove. Knock back by kneading the dough a couple of times and then split the dough into two balls.

Generously grease a non stick-baking tray and place one of the balls on it. Flatten and spread the ball out with your hands. Repeat with the other ball. Leave both to rise – they will not rise greatly just about double their height if that. This should take about 40 mins.

When risen, brush the tops with water and then using two fingers push into the dough but avoid breaking through the bottom. The idea is to create dimples. Sprinkle the entire top liberally with sesame seeds and place in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. The bread is done when it has taken on a golden brown colour.

Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

Serve warm.


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