Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cuban Bread

This is another really easy to make bread. The crusty outside reminds me of a good loaf of French bread. There are just a few ingredients in this recipe and it really is not much work for a great loaf of bread. I used this bread for my Gourmet French Dip sandwiches, which I'll post the recipe for tomorrow, and we've been using it for toast. Give it a try you won't be disappointed.

Cuban Bread
Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

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

One baking sheet, Teflon, greased, or sprinkled with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper

Place 4 cups flour in a large mixing bowl and add the yeast, salt, and sugar. Stir until well blended. Pour in the hot water and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually work in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough takes shape and is no longer sticky.

Knead for 8 minutes with dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm place until double in bulk, about 15 minutes.

Punch down the dough, turn it out on the work surface, and cut into 2 pieces. Shape each into a round. Place on baking sheet. With a sharp knife or razor, slash an X on each of the loaves and brush with water.

Place the sheet on the middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a large pan of hot water on the shelf below, and heat the oven to 400 degrees. The bread will continue to rise while the oven in heating. Bake about 50 minutes, or until the loaves are a deep golden brown. Thump on the bottom crusts to test for doneness. If they sound hard and hallow, they are baked.

Turn the loaves out onto metal racks and cool before slicing. It won't stay fresh more than a day or two but it does freeze well.

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