Inspired from the traditional, fragrant festive Greek island recipes, this is the basic bread dough I use for various kinds of loaves but also for lagana (plural laganes) the flat, focaccia-like loaves that I make all the time, topped with any kind of seasonal vegetables or fruit —sliced fresh figs when in season, or wine-soaked dried figs in the winter, tomato or peppers in the summer, kumquat with spicy cheese etc.
Instead of baking the bread on the stone, I often heat a cast iron or clay casserole and when the loaf is ready, I carefully transfer it inside the heated casserole, close the lid and let it bake inside for about 30 minutes then uncover, and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until it is done. Baked inside the casserole the bread gets a more substantial crust.
I also flatten and roll pieces of the dough stuffing it with greens or broccoli. Lately I invented a pizza-like spanakopita, topping this beautiful dough with the mixture of greens, herbs, feta, and other cheeses –the same one that I use for my winter greens’ pie, where I combine not just spinach but also a variety of wonderful wild, foraged greens. I shaped the round bread-spanakopita in a non-stick skillet, and fried it for about 6-8 minutes, until the bottom started to brown, then continued to bake it in the oven.
Yields 1 large or 2 medium loaves, or 2-3 flat laganes (more…)