This deep-fried bread dough is a tradition for us at Christmas. We get together with my husband’s family and fry a big batch of this swirly bread to eat with an assortment of cheeses and seafood. Traditionally from the Peloponnese area of Greece, these classic rings can also be turned into a sweet treat by dusting with plenty of powdered sugar and cinnamon.
5 cups flour + more for kneading
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
Light olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
Mix together the yeast and sugar with the water. Allow the yeast to activate for 10 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the flour and the salt, creating a well in the middle. Add the olive oil and the activated yeast and mix together well. Your mixture should feel light and airy. If the dough is sticking to your hands, dust your hands with additional flour.
Lightly flour a clean service and knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. Roll it into a ball and place it in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a thick tea towel. Allow the dough to rise for at least 2 hours. Once the dough has rested, cut off a ball (approximately 2”) and roll it between your hands. Transfer the ball onto a clean surface and roll out into a log shape approximately 1” wide. Cover with plastic film until ready to fry. Prepare all the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Heat the oil to 350°F. Ensure the oil is deep enough to hold 2 to 3 lalagias. Important: Do not place too many lalagias into the oil at one time as it will cool it. Lift the dough logs from either end. The dough is very elastic and should start pulling apart longer. In any case, slightly pull apart the dough to lengthen it. Carefully drop the dough into the heated oil creating a spiral shape. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden brown on one side, and then turn over and fry the other side for the same amount of time. Place the fried lalagia on a paper-lined tray to absorb some of the oil.
Serves 4 to 6.