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"Lagana" Bread

02/20/2015 02:18 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2015

"Lagana" is a traditional flatbread usually baked for Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent before Easter. Sesame seeds are the most common topping and often fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, oregano or rosemary are added for even more flavor.

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Ingredients:

2 envelopes active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
6 cups bread flour (an additional up-to-1/2 cup of flour for kneading)
2 cups of warm water (not too hot!)
1 teaspoon anise seeds (optional)
1 tbsp. salt
5 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sesame seeds for sprinkling (white or black or combination of both)

Makes 2 laganes

Directions

Boil anise seeds (in case you use it) in water for 2-3 minutes. Using a small colander, collect and throw away the seeds and let it cool for a while.

In a medium work bowl, dissolve the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the flour in warm water. Let stand covered for 15 minutes or until mixture starts to foam and bubble.

In a large work bowl, combine flour with salt. Make a well in the center with your hand and pour in the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined.

Turn dough out on to a counter or table dusted with flour and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough feels smooth to the touch but not sticky.

Shape dough into a ball, brush it with oil and allow to rise in a covered bowl for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and knead it for another 5 or 6 minutes. Shape it into 2 equal loaves. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out on to two lightly oiled baking sheets into flat ovals about 15 inches long and about 6 inches wide.

Brush with oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and allow to proof (rise) again for 20 more minutes, until a finger poked in the bread leaves an indentation without springing back. Preheat oven to 180°C/350F during the final rise.

Using your index finger, poke holes across the surface of the bread (about every 2 inches). Bake for 45 minutes or until a deep golden color.

Tips:

If no bubbles form after 10 minutes, your yeast may be too old. Do not use unless the yeast has proofed.

You may add dry herbs of your taste while you knead the dough.

For more recipes by Katerina, visit www.oliveoil-culture.com