Greek-Island Lagana with Olives, Thyme, and more...
Serve as a main course or cut into slices or squares for a meze or side to a meal.
The recipes below link to how-to videos on our YouTube cooking series, Flippin’ Greek! ™, to show you the techniques we use in our kouzina. Join us!
Make-ahead tips throughout this crust recipe mean you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen all in one day. You can make the dough today and bake fresh lagana or pizza up to 2 days later. If you’re short on time, you can use purchased pizza dough (which rises just once) and follow the directions at the end of this recipe to turn it into a Greek olive-thyme crust.
KOUZINA TIP: This dough can also be made into a loaf (shape into an oval or round and bake on a greased baking sheet at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top and bottom are browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom; let cool before cutting).
Dairy-free vegan version: To turn this into a classic Greek olive-thyme crust for a strict fast, omit the cheese and, if desired, add 1/4 cup chopped pitted Greek green olives.
PREP TIME 20 minutes
RISING TIME 3 to 4½ hours
MAKES 1 large or 2 medium laganas, serving 4 to 6
1 envelope (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water (about 100°F), divided
(use the lesser amount of water in hot/humid climate, the larger amount in cool/dry climate, and in between in moderate climate)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup grated kasseri cheese (optional)
1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 teaspoon white and/or back sesame seeds (optional)
1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and 2 tablespoons lukewarm water; stir until dissolved. Set aside for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and risen.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl, add the olive oil, and rub between hands until combined. Mix in the salt, thyme, and yeast mixture. Knead in just enough lukewarm water until dough holds together. Add the cheese (if using) and olives and continue kneading, adding just enough of the remaining lukewarm water to form a soft, smooth dough (the dough should start to pull away from the sides of the bowl, sticking a little at the bottom).
3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat the top. Cover the bowl with a clean dry kitchen towel and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Can be made ahead. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature for 45 minutes, then refrigerate 4 hours or up to 24 hours. The dough will rise slowly as it chills. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand 2 to 3 hours at room temperature before continuing.)
4. Lightly coat a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (2 sheets if you’re making 2 breads) with olive oil; set aside. Divide the dough in half for 2 breads; or leave whole for 1 bread. Choose one of the following sizes/shapes:
One 13-by-18-inch oval or rectangle (3/4- to 1-inch-thick)
One 15-inch round (1-inch-thick)
Two 14-inch rounds (1/2-inch-thick)
5. On a lightly floured surface, gently stretch the dough and press with your fingertips into desired shape. The dough will resist stretching, shrinking back, so let it rest, covered with a clean dry kitchen towel (to keep it from drying out), for 5 minutes. Repeat stretching and resting until the dough is the desired size and shape. Transfer the dough to the prepared sheet, reshaping as needed and making sure it’s not too thin in spots. Press with fingertips to leave dimples in the dough. This is a rustic bread, so it doesn’t have to look perfect (imperfection is beautiful and delicious!).
6. Cover the dough with a clean dry kitchen towel and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours (if it hasn't been refrigerated) or up to 2 1/2 hours (if it has been refrigerated). Towards the end of the rising time, arrange a rack with a pizza stone in the lower level of the oven and heat to 425°F (if not using a stone, continue without it).
7. If using sesame, lightly brush the dough edges (or, if not making pizza, the entire surface) with water and sprinkle with sesame. Bake 8 to 12 minutes, until the crust is just set and begins to brown around the edges but is light on top and in the center. If making 2 breads, switch them up and down halfway through the baking time. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead to use in pizza recipe. Remove lagana from oven, cool completely on a wire rack, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature. When ready to serve, top and bake as directed in OLIVE-THYME LAGANA VEGGIE PIZZA recipe, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time.) If not making pizza, go to step 9 and continue baking.
8. If making pizza: Remove the lagana from the oven and top according to the following Olive-Thyme Lagana Veggie Pizza recipe.
9. If not making pizza: Bake about 15 minutes more, until the edges and underside (when lagana is lifted up) are golden brown. Check the lagana halfway through, moving it down one rack if the top is browning too quickly. If making 2 breads, switch them up and down halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving. For effortless serving, cut with a pizza wheel.
IF USING PREPARED PIZZA DOUGH:
(16 ounces for a large bread/pizza, 6 to 8 ounces for medium)
1. Start with dough at room temperature (refrigerated dough should stand at room temperature 2 to 3 hours before using). Lightly coat a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (2 sheets if you’re making 2 breads/pizzas) with olive oil.
2. On a lightly floured surface, kneed the cheese (if using), olives, olive oil, and thyme into the dough until well incorporated. Gently stretch the dough and press with your fingertips into desired shape. The dough may resist stretching, shrinking back, so let it rest, covered with a clean dry kitchen towel (to keep it from drying out), for 5 minutes. Repeat stretching and resting until dough is desired size and shape. Transfer dough to prepared sheet, reshaping as needed and making sure it’s not too thin in spots. Press with fingertips to leave dimples in the dough. Again, it doesn’t have to look perfect.
3. If making pizza: Arrange the topping ingredients over the lagana (see step 1 in the Olive-Thyme Lagana Veggie Pizza recipe, below).
4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until slightly risen, 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, arrange a rack with a pizza stone in the lower level of the oven and heat to 400°F (if not using a stone, continue without it). Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges and underside (when lagana is lifted up) are golden brown. If making 2 breads, switch them up and down halfway through the baking time. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly before serving. For effortless serving, cut with a pizza wheel.
Combining different Greek cheeses gives this pizza rich flavor but when strictly fasting, substitute cooked marinated shrimp instead (add to the baked pizza just before serving). A variety of handpicked toppings allows you to customize this hot lagana pizza…your way!
PREP TIME 15 minutes
BAKING TIME 15 minutes
MAKES 1 large or 2 medium pizzas, serving 4 to 6
1 recipe Olive-Thyme Lagana (above)
3/4 to 1 cup jarred artichoke hearts, patted very dry, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini, sliced and grilled
Additional veggie-topping options:
Warm Artichoke Salad Spread (from our Spreads & Dips cookbook)
Grilled eggplant slices
Sliced plum tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced or chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup shredded kasseri cheese (optional)
1/4 cup grated graviera cheese (optional)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Cooked marinated shrimp, at room temperature (optional)
1. Arrange a rack with a pizza stone (if not using a stone, continue without it) in the center of the oven and heat to 375°F. With partially-baked Olive-Thyme Lagana on baking sheet, top evenly with artichoke, zucchini, veggie choice, olives, and cheeses (if using), then lightly drizzle olive oil over the top.
2. Bake about 15 minutes, until the edges and underside (when pizza is lifted up) are golden brown. Check the pizza halfway through, moving it down one rack if the top is browning too quickly. If making 2 pizzas, switch them up and down halfway through the baking time. Transfer pizza to a rack to cool slightly before serving. For effortless serving, cut with a pizza wheel.
Recipes copyright © Kukla's Kouzina
I hope you enjoy making our olive lagana/pizza recipes. For more info about lagana and a traditional recipe, see our blog Lagana: Bread for the Spirit.
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ABOUT Kukla’s Kouzina Flippin’ Greek! ™
Flippin’ Greek! ™ is our YouTube cooking series featuring familiar non-Greek recipes we flipped to Greek-island style using ingredients and cooking techniques found in Karpathos. Each episode runs 2 to 15 minutes, the perfect length for viewers to quickly learn how to recreate foods and beverages/cocktails right alongside us.
The ingredients used in Greek-island cuisine is what sets this style of cooking apart from standard Greek fare, giving meals a fresh take that keeps them interesting. Karpathos, the home of Kukla’s Kouzina, has its own unique style, and we’ll show you how to take common dishes and reinvent them into Karpathian versions with our simple substitutions.
Many think that everyday Greek cooking is made up of dishes like spanakopita (spinach pie), moussaka, and pastitsio. These are classics for sure, but too time-consuming to make on a regular basis. During our time in Karpathos, we learned that the locals’ quick meals made from the island’s staples like fresh vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, and protein, prepared using certain methods, came out tasting Greek-island delicious. So we thought this would be a great way to bring our hometown flavor into YOUR kouzina, adding some spicy variety to your life while keeping it simple and fast. Recipes for each week will be posted right here on our blog with links to the episodes.
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