Clean Monday Traditional Bread
Every year for Clean Monday, as a way to kick off lent, there is a special Greek bread that is made. It’s special because it’s only made once a year (some Greek families may make it a few times throughout the year however–but out and about, it’s hard to find).
The bread is called, Lagana (λαγάνα) and it’s very simple to make. It closely resembles focaccia bread in my opinion.
Every year since I can remember, I’ve had this bread on Clean Monday. When I was little I just called it sesame bread. If you’re new to Greek cooking, you’ll soon discover Greece’s love for sesame seeds.
So below is the recipe for it. If you stumbled upon this post on or around Clean Monday, don’t be afraid to give it a go. It’s simple and tasty.
Both Jane and I find it goes best with an olive oil dip made of: Greek olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Of course, one might not be able to have olive oil during their fast, we choose to included it during ours.
Give it a try and let us know!
- 2½ cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- ¼ cup Greek olive oil, plus extra for coating
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Sesame seeds for topping
- In a large bowl add warm water, yeast, and sugar.
- Mix contents well and let sit for 5 minutes to allow yeast to active
- Add flour, olive oil, and salt, mix thoroughly. If the dough mixture is too wet or dry, add more flour or water accordingly.
- Form dough and knead on floured surface for 5-7 minutes.
- Coat bowl with olive oil, and place dough ball in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 90 minutes, or until double in size.
- Add some flour to a work surface, remove dough and knead for a few minutes.
- Gently stretch dough out to make rectangle.
- Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Press fingertips down all over dough to create small pockets.
- Cover with paper towel and let rise again for 30 minutes.
- Brush top of Lagana with olive oil and sprinkle sesame seeds over top.
- Place in preheated over at 400F for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove and enjoy!