Monday, March 21, 2011

Cuban Bread

Occasionally Nathan will come home from work with a food request from one of his guys. I am always happy to bake for them because it gives me another opportunity to get in the kitchen! :)

Last week Nathan was asked if I could make Cuban Bread. I have never had Cuban bread but with a quick internet search I was able to find a recipe and I started it that afternoon.

The bread smelled amazing as it was rising and even better as it was baking! I wish I could tell you how it tasted, but I delivered both loaves straight to Nathan's work. I was told that the guy who they were for said, "Every time I take a bite of the bread I say, Thank you Mrs. Holtgrewe!"

If that isn't a good endorsement for the bread, I don't know what is! Now I want to make it again for myself! :)




Cuban Bread
Recipe from Taste of Cuba


STARTER


3/4 tsp active dry yeast(1/3 envelope)
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup bread or all-purpose flour

The day before baking; mix the starter ingredients, dissolving the yeast in the water first. You want a thick paste when you add the flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let "ripen" in refrigerator for 24 hours. Leftover starter will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be frozen.

DOUGH


4-1/2 tsp active dry yeast - (2 envelopes or 2 cakes of compressed yeast)
1 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 cups warm water
3 to 4 Tbsp lard or solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 batch starter (see above recipe)
1 Tbsp salt
4 to 5 cups bread or all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 3 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl. When the mixture is foamy (5 to 10 minutes), stir in the lard, the remaining water, and the 1/2 batch of starter.

Mix well with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Stir in salt and flour, 1 cup at a time. You want to get a dough that is stiff enough to knead. You can also mix and knead in a mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a food processor fitted with the double blade, as the processor dough hook will not handle this job easily.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary. The dough should be pliable and not sticky.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles its' bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down.

To form the loaves, divide the dough in 4 pieces. Roll out each to form a 14-inch long tube, with rounded ends (sort of like a long meat loaf) Put 2 of the loaves on a baking sheet, about 6 inches apart. Cover with dampened cotton dish towels and let rise in warm, draft-free spot until double their bulk, about 1 hour. If you want to let it rise at a slower pace, you can do it in a cooler spot and even in the refrigerator, but give it 3 to 4 hours instead.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Lay a dampened piece of thick kitchen string or twine (about 1/8 " thick) all along the top length of the loaf. Bake until the breads are lightly browned on top and sound hollow when lightly tapped, about 30 minutes.

Let them cool slightly and remove the strings. They will leave a distinct little ridge on top. Transfer loaves onto a wire rack for cooling.

2 comments:

Flourchild said...

That looks like some great looking bread! Im sure all the folks around there want your food!!

I Love Ski Jumping said...

What beautiful pictures and great blog;)) cordially invite you to my blog, Kisses; **

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