A revolutionary bread – Cuban Bread

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  You wouldn’t think so, would you but I am still a Bread Baking Babe. A Bad Babe but still a member of that honorary group of women who bakes together once a month and in between help each other both with baking and moral support. This month I happen to be the host of our monthly challenge so I had to get my act together and bake the bread on time. I also chose the bread to bake which was a very easy choice really, I have been baking a very special bread a few times and I felt I had to share this pretty spectacular bread with my fellow babes, our faithful Buddies and budding Buddies as well so here it is: Bernard Clayton’s Cuban Bread

Cuba Bread

So what is so special with it? Well, with very few ingredients and with only one 15 minute rising before it goes into the oven, it is both a fast bake and technique wise very intriguing because you put it into a cold oven and while the oven warms up, the bread rise and then bake. It works and it works well with a surprisingly mature flavour. So if you are looking for a recipe of a quick and easy bread, say goodbye to all those spongy no-knead breads and welcome the revolutionary Cuban bread!

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  I have only heard good things said about this bread from the Babes but as each and everyone of us are different (and have different ovens, use different flours and have different hands and so on), I suggest you take a look at how they fared with the bread, click here for the complete list. The last time I baked it and took these photos, I substituted 2 cups of flour with farro flour to make it a little healthier which was good but the bread had a slightly less florid oven spring compared to the all white flour bread. I do recommend to take a look at the bread while it bakes because it turns pretty brown at the end although this differed between us, some had pale ones, some very sunburnt ones. 

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Bake this bread and become a Bread Baking Buddie or just bake it for the pleasure of it, I really recommend you to try it out, it seems to be almost foolproof! If you do the Buddie, please bake and send me the link to your blog post about it before midnight Saturday 28th of January to luculliandelights AT gmail DOT com, please write Bread Baking Buddy a the subject so that I don’t miss it!

from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads

1,2-1,4 litre/ 5-6 cups of bread or AP flour
2 packages dry yeast, I 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.

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, 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.

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