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Prep1 hr 20 mins
This recipe is the bread recipe used by my college roommate when making the Sandwich Cubano Sandwich Cubano. A traditional loaf of Cuban bread is approximately three feet long and somewhat rectangular as compared to the rounder shape of Italian or French bread loaves. In the early days, the dough was stretched thin to make it last, creating the bread's distinctive air pockets and long shape. A shallow trench in the upper crust is created using a moist palm frond but it can also be made using a greased wooden dowel in place of the palm frond.
- Grease a large bowl, and set aside.
- Dissolve the yeast in warm (90 degree F) water. Add the salt and sugar. Stir well.
- Mix the flour and wheat gluten. Add lard then add the flour/gluten mixture, one cup at a time, beating it in using a wooden spoon (or using the dough hook on an electric mixer) to make a fairly stiff dough. Shape dough into a small ball.
- Place dough in the Pyrex bowl, turn over so both sides are greased, cover with a moist cloth and place in a warm place. Let rise about 20 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
- Grease two more bowls. Remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down. Cut dough in half to form two balls. Place each ball in a separate bowl. Cover each with a moist cloth and let rise about 30 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Do NOT preheat the oven.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Shape into long, Cuban bread-style loaves. Place the loaves on the baking sheet. Allow to stand and rise for five minutes.
- Brush the loaves with water.
- Place in middle shelf of the COLD oven. Place a pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven.
- Set the temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake the breads until they are crusty and done - about 45 minutes.