Lagana ~ Traditional Bread For Clean Monday

  • by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 07 March 2019
Lagana ~ Traditional Bread For Clean Monday

Lagana is the unique flatbread that is traditionally eaten on Clean Monday, the start of the 40-day Greek Orthodox Lenten fast. The fast, indeed, is a paradigm of the Mediterranean diet and most of the dishes eaten during this 40-day period are also great, delicious options for vegans and vegetarians.

Traditionally, lagana is made without yeast, a true unleavened bread, like those mentioned in the Old Testament. Lagana is never cut with a knife, but rather broken apart because iron, the stuff of knife-making long ago, was believed to contain the powers of evil.

Few people make the bread at home anymore, relying instead on local bakeries in Athens and throughout Greece. It’s an all-night baking process, one punctuated by glasses of retsina, bowls of pickled vegetables and wedges of tahini halva. These are the Lenten treats bakers sustain themselves on while preparing these oversized, flat loaves.

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