Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cuban Bread

A Guest Blog Post by Clare ...

This the second post that I have done for Keith's blog, and, I get to post about something that Keith has never posted about ... bread.  Keith does not bake, but I love to bake.  For example, if I mention the word "Cuban" to Keith, he'll think of the sandwich, with its ham and roast pork.  Mention the word "Cuban," I think of a bread I made a while back called "Cuban bread."

This recipe makes two round loaves of bread, which is very similar to a French bread made with only yeast, flour, water, salt and a little sugar.  When making this bread, you cut a little "x" into the top of the bread.  As it bakes, the bread opens at the top.

This is a very easy recipe to make.  I think even Keith could make this recipe. 

Makes 2 loaves
Adapted from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads at pages 23-24

5 to 6 cups of bread or all purpose flour, approximately
2 packages of dry yeast
1 tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups of hot water (120 to 130 degrees)
Sesame seeds

1.  Place four cups flour in a large mixing bowl and add the yeast, salt and sugar.  Stir until they are well blended.  Pour in the hot water and beat with one hundred strong strokes or for three minutes with a mixer flat beater.  Gradually work in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time (using fingers if necessary), until the dough takes shape and is no longer sticky.

2.  Sprinkle the work surface with flour.  Work in the flour as you knead, keeping a dusting of it between the dough and the work surface. Knead for eight minutes by hand or with a dough hook until the dough is smooth, elastic and feels alive under your hands.

3.  Turn the dough fro the bowl and allow it to rest for four or five minutes before dividing it into two pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball.  Flatten with the palm into an oblong roughly the length of the loaf pan.  Fold lengthwise, pinch the seam together, tuck in the ends and drop into the prepared tin.  Press down with the hand to force the dough into the corners.

4.  Cover the pans with greased wax or parchment paper and put aside to almost tripe in volume.  The dough should rise 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the rim of the tin in about fifty minutes.

5.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees about fifteen minutes before baking.

6.  Brush the loaves with the egg-milk wash and place the pans on the middle or lower shelf of the oven.  Bake until the loaves are a golden brown, thirty to forty minutes, and test done when rapped on the bottom crust with a forefinger.

7.  Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool on a metal rack before slicing.


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