Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 40 mins
Cara is a wonderful woman on my cyber-playgroup. She makes this a lot despite having 2 preschoolers. She got it from someone by the name of Father Dominic. Times are guesses.
- 3 packages active dry yeast (eg Fleischmanns)
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 cups water
- 5 -6 cups bread flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon salt
- cornmeal, for sprinkling on baking sheet
- 1 egg (or 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash)
- 3⁄4 cup hot water
- Combine yeast, brown sugar and warm water in a large mixing bowl; stir to mix.
- Stir in 2 cups of the flour; beat well.
- Let stand 10 minutes for yeast to develop.
- Stir in salt.
- Add remaining 3 to 4 cups flour, about 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until a stiff dough forms.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Knead 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep dough manageable.
- Dough should be smooth, elastic and not sticky.
- Oil the surface of the dough and put it in the rinsed mixing bowl.
- Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 45 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down dough.
- Knead lightly.
- Form into two long loaves.
- Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet; place loaves on baking sheet.
- Let rise, uncovered, 10 minutes.
- Using a sharp knife or razor blade, make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes in the top of each loaf.
- Brush loaves with egg wash.
- Place on middle shelf of a cold oven.
- Place a shallow pan on the bottom shelf; pour hot water into pan.
- Set oven temperature at 400 degrees and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves are well browned and sound hollow when tapped.
- Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire racks.
- Note: For the best results, this recipe requires bread flour.
- All-purpose flour works, but it often produces a low loaf if it is not kneaded thoroughly.
- Notice the absence of oil or butter in the dough, which makes the bread crustier.
- This bread is so good you won't have to worry much about leftovers, but if you think you'll use only one loaf within a day, don't freeze the other-- just give it away!
This bread makes all the difference when making Cuban sandwiches! I mixed the dough in my bread machine and let it go through the first rise there and proceeded with the rest of the recipe. Delicious!
Delicious bread and great directions, Missy!! I used half bread flour and half all-purpose (just 'cause that was all I had), and the loaves still rose beautifully. I had a wonderful crispy crust and a beautiful texture. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe.
I like this bread and I usually go some time in between cooking it. So much so, that I can't remember where to use the warm water, the hot water and the water. I think the 2 cups of water should be changed to 2 cups of warm water to be more in line with the text of the recipe.