LAGANA BREAD: GREEK FLATBREAD FILLED WITH OLIVES, SUN-DRIED TOMATOES, & HERBS
- Makes 2 Loaves:
- For the starter:
- 1 cup lukewarm (115 °F) water
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 and ½ teaspoons instant yeast
- ¼ cup bread flour
- 3 and ¾ cups (565 grams) bread flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- ¾ - 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ¼ cup fresh chopped basil leaves
- 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
- 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- Black sesame seeds for the top
- Optional fillings: scallions, caramelized onions
Note:The dough for this recipe can be prepared in a table top stand mixer or in a large bowl and kneaded by hand. If kneading by hand, increase the kneading time to 10 minutes.
Make the starter:Combine all of the starter ingredients into the bowl of a tabletop mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Mix the ingredients together with a spoon or whisk and set aside for 25-30 minutes.
Note:A puffy cloud will form on the top of the mixture. If this does not happen, throw away the mixture and start with different yeast. Yeast very rarely goes bad, but when it does, it cannot be used.
Combine the remaining flour and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
Add the flour mixture along with the olive oil and remaining water to the yeast mixture. Knead on low speed for 7 minutes. Add the chopped olives and sun-dried tomatoes to the dough and either knead it 1 more minute in the machine or by hand.
Note:The dough should remain sticky. If it is dry, knead in about ¼ cup more water. A soft sticky dough will yield a light, airy bread.
Place the dough in an oiled large bowl and cover with plastic. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. This usually takes around 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours depending on the temperature.
Punch down the dough and cut into 2 equal portions.
Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
Using your fingertips or a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle about the same size of the pan, about 10 inches by 14 inches.
This is a rustic bread, so shape it however you like. Rectangular shapes are very common.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 °F, 220 °C.
Place a cast iron pan (or a baking pan) on the bottom rack of the oven to warm up while the oven is preheating.
It is also a good idea to keep a pizza stone on the rack that the bread will bake on. (center rack)
If you do not have a pizza stone, a ceramic tile will do the trick. Just make sure to keep it in the oven while it is preheating. Placing a cold stone/tile in a hot oven will cause it to crack. I leave my stone inside the oven at all times.
The cast iron pan along with the pizza stone/ceramic tile will create bakery style bread.
After 30 minutes, using your fingertips, press into the dough to create the characteristic dimples of lagana bread.
Brush the dough with water and sprinkle sesame seeds or your favorite herbs on top.
Bake the trays one at a time.
Place the tray onto the pizza stone/tile and bake for 15 minutes or until the bread is golden.
Allow the bread to rest about 8-10 minutes then serve.