Cuban Bread

Recipe by Bonnie G 2
READY IN: 43mins
SERVES: 4
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Grease a large bowl, and set aside.
  • Take a small bowl and dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/4 cup of warm (110 degrees F) water. Place the bowl in a warm place and let it stand until it starts to foam and double in volume, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, measure out 1/4 cup of lard Heat in the microwave until melted.
  • Place the water/yeast/sugar mixture in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add the rest of the warm water and the salt. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until blended.
  • Take your measuring cup and sift together the two flours.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the wet ingredients in your mixer -- mixing constantly. At the same time you are adding flour, gradually pour in the melted lard. Keep adding a little flour and a little lard until all of the lard is added.
  • Continue adding more flour until you make a smooth and pliable dough. Try to add just enough flour to make the dough elastic -- just as much as necessary so that the dough hook barely cleans the sides of the bowl. Too much flour and your bread will be too dense! You will use approximately 3 1/4 cups of sifted flour to bring the dough to this point. (More or less, this is where the art of baking comes in!) Save any leftover flour mixture for rolling out the dough.
  • Now let the machine and the dough hook go to work kneading the dough. Set the mixer on a low speed and knead for about 3 to 4 minutes, no more! Your dough will be fairly sticky at this point.
  • Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the greased bowl.
  • Flip the dough ball a few times to grease it up on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm place. Let the dough rise until it doubles in size -- about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, using the leftover flour you have in the bowl. Sprinkle some flour on the dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out. This recipe called for a large loaf, shaped to fit a long baking sheet diagonally -- about 20 inches long. So we try to roll out a 12 x 20-inch rectangle. BUT:( I prefer 4 smaller ones for individual rolls)Sprinkle more flour on the dough and turn it over a few times as you roll it out, to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin. The added flour at this rolling stage should take care of most of the stickiness of the dough.
  • Roll the dough up into a tightly rolled long cylinder, with a slight taper at both ends. Wet your fingers and pinch the loose flap of the rolled dough into the loaf, making a tight seam.
  • Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
  • Place the loaf diagonally onto the baking sheet, seam side down. Dust the top with a little extra flour and cover very loosely with plastic wrap. (You don't want the rising dough to dry out or stick to the plastic wrap.).
  • Place in a warm spot and allow the loaf to stand and rise once again until it is about 2 1/2 times it's original size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cuban bread is wider than French bread, so expect your loaf to spread out quite a bit as it rises.
  • Preheat oven to 450º F. Place a pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow seam down the middle of the top of the bread, leaving about two inches of uncut top on each end of the loaf.
  • Brush the top of the loaf with water and place in your preheated oven on the middle shelf. After about 5 minutes of baking, brush some more water on top of the bread.
  • Bake the loaf until it is light brown and crusty -- about 12 to 18 minutes total baking time.
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