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!
I 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.
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.