Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cuban Bread, So Easy

Cuban BreadThe fastest, easiest, attractive artisan type bread I've ever discovered!  Saw this recipe online at Cathy's Blog: Bread Experience.Com and had to try.  From start to a "ta-dah" finish takes no more than a mere hour-and-a-half.

Mixing and kneading with mixer takes 15 minutes; the rise 15 to 20 minutes; shaping 5 minutes, then it goes directly into a cold oven with a pan of hot water on bottom shelf; set oven to 400 degrees and bake 50 minutes.  As the oven heats, bread continues to rise and bake.  It couldn't be more simple!
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppI use active bulk dry instant yeast for about $6 a pound and store in refrigerator.  Jars or packets of yeast can add 50 cents to a dollar per loaf, but bulk yeast costs a mere 4 to 8 cents a loaf. That's quite a savings if making bread often, as I do. Red Star or SAF Instant brands are available on line if your store doesn't carry them, as mine does.

Cuban Bread, So Easy
5-6 cups of bread or all-purpose flour
2 packages or 1 1/2 Tabs. dry yeast, I use SAF Instant
1 Tab. salt
2 Tabs. sugar
2 cups hot water
Sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling (optional)
Pan filled with about 4 cups of hot water, I used a stir fry pan

Place 4 cups of flour in a mixing bowl with yeast, salt and sugar. Stir until blended. Pour in hot water and beat 100 strong strokes by hand, or three minutes with a mixer flat beater. Gradually work in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until the dough takes shape and is no longer sticky. 

Knead 8 minutes by hand or with a dough hook until dough is smooth, elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm (80-100°F) place until double in size, about 15-20 minutes.


Punch down dough, turn out on work surface, and cut into two pieces. Shape each into a round. Place on baking sheet. I used a silicone baking pan, but a lightly greased pan, or parchment paper can be used.  With a sharp knife or razor, slash an  X on each of the loaves about a half inch deep.  Brush or spray with water, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.  I put sesame on one and poppy seeds on the other.

Place baking sheet on middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a large pan of hot water from kitchen tap on shelf below, (or bottom of oven) and turn oven on to 400°F. Loaves will continue to rise while oven is heating and water steams.  Bake about 50 minutes, or until the loaves are a deep golden brown. Thump on bottom crusts to test doneness.  Loaves should sound hollow.  If using a digital thermometer, it should be done at 200 degrees.

You'll love the look, texture and taste of these beauties!  
Cool  loaves on a wire rack for about an hour before slicing. Makes 2, (slightly over) 1 pound loaves. Freezes well. 


Estimated cost: $1.25 for two loaves.