Monday, January 16, 2012

Cuban Bread

Need bread in a hurry? This Cuban bread bakes up fast and delicious. You don't even have to turn your oven on first!

Bread Baking Babe Ilva was intrigued by this cold oven method of baking and challenged us to give it a try. The results are seriously delicious for such a simple bread - quite similar to French bread, and perfect for sandwiches.

Go ahead and give Cuban bread a try in your kitchen - if you get it done by January 28th, contact Ilva about earning a Bread Baking Buddy Badge! 

Cuban Bread
from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads

1,2-1,4 litre/ 5-6 cups of bread or AP flour (I used about 4½ cups)
2 packages dry (instant) yeast, Ilva used 50 g fresh
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
500 ml/ 2 cups hot water
sesame or poppy seeds (optional)

by hand or mixer (15 mins)
Place 4 cups flour in a mixing bowl and add the yeast, salt and sugar. Stir until they are well blended. Pour in the hot water and beat with 100 strong strokes, or three minutes with a mixer flat beater.
Gradually work in the remaining flour (using fingers if necessary), 1/2 cup at a time until the dough takes shape and is no longer sticky.

kneading (8 mins)
Sprinkle the work surface with flour. Work in the flour as you knead, keeping a dusting of it between the dough and the work surface. Knead for 8 minutes by hand or with a dough hook until the dough is smooth, elastic, and feels alive under your hands.

by processor (5 mins)
Attach the short plastic blade.
 Place 2 cups flour in the work bowl and add the other ingredients, as above. Pulse several times to thoroughly mix. Remove the cover and add 2 more cups of flour. Replace the cover and pulse to blend.
 Add the remaining flour through the feed tube, pulsing after each addition, until the dough begins to form and is carried around the bowl by the force of the blade.

kneading (45 secs)
Turn on the machine to knead for 45 seconds.

rising (15 mins)
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm (26-37°C/80-100°F) place until double in bulk, about 15 minutes.

This bread has been YeastSpotted!
shaping (4 mins)
Punch down the dough, turn it out on the work surface, and cut into two pieces. Shape each into a round. Place on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife or razor, slash X on each of the loaves (I managed to forget to do this..), brush water, and, if desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

baking (205°C/400°F; 45-50 mins)
Place the baking 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 205°C/400°F. The bread of course, will continue to rise while the oven is heating. Bake for 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 hollow, they are baked.

*Note - mine was done in 35 minutes - ovens will vary, keep an eye on the bread. You want a nice deep gold crust and an internal temp of over 200°F

The Bread Baking Babes
BYOB Badge