If you’re looking for a quick and easy white bread recipe, this Cuban Bread is about as easy as it gets. It contains five simple ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, water, plus a little sugar and can be made in a couple of hours from start-to-finish. Now that’s what I call simple!
Ilva of Lucullian Delights chose this Revolutionary Cuban Bread for the Bread Baking Babes. I almost missed out baking with the babes this month, but this recipe is so quick and easy, I was able to make it in the evening even after a busy day in the office.
The final proofing for this bread is done in the oven while the oven is warming up. You place the loaves in a cold oven with a steam pan of hot water underneath. This differs from a lot of artisan breads that require preheating the oven during the final proofing of the dough, and then placing the loaves in the warm oven with a steam pan underneath. I was intrigued by this process and enjoyed watching the bread unfold. The bread literally opened up during the bake like a beautiful flower.
Cuban Bread Recipe
Makes: Two round loaves
From Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads
- 700-840g (5-6 cups) of bread or all-purpose flour, I used all-purpose
- 18g (2 packages or 1 1/2 T) dry yeast, I used instant
- 15g (1 T) salt, I used Kosher salt
- 25g (2 T) sugar, I used raw sugar
- 450g (500 ml/ 2 cups) hot water
- sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling (optional)
1) Mix the dough 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. I used about 5 cups of flour total.
2) Kneading the Dough (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.
3) 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.
4) Shaping the Loaves (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. I used a parchment-lined baking sheet.
With a sharp knife or razor, slash X on each of the loaves. I used my new lame.
If desired, brush or spray with water, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
5) Baking the Loaves (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.
6) Cooling the loaves
Cool the loaves on a wire rack for about an hour before slicing if you can.
7) Slicing and Eating the Loaves
Now it’s time to enjoy. This bread is really good considering the time it takes to make it. I enjoyed it with peanut butter and just plain with butter. It’s also good just plain.
Since this bread doesn’t contain any fat, it won’t keep very long so you’ll want to eat it right away or freeze it. This bread freezes really well so I froze one of the loaves to enjoy another day.
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