I pulled this recipe for Cuban bread out of the Tallahassee
Democrat.† Iím not even sure who provided it, but it sounds interesting.†
Some experts swear that, to be authentic, Cuban bread must be made with lard. Others say the bread should be made with olive oil.† And some claim there should be no fat whatsoever in the dough.
† The third option seems most logical to me.† You get a crisp bread that does not soften up the way a French or Italian loaf does in a humid climate, and the bread doesnít disintegrate when you press it to make a Cuban sandwich.
† I learned how to make this very crisp Cuban bread when I lived in the Tampa Bay area in the early 1970s.
† Because this bread has no fat, it will quickly turn hard.† It should be eaten within a day, or sliced and placed in plastic bags in the freezer.† The amount of salt can be reduced, but since the bread is so simple, I think the mild saltiness is a plus.
2 envelopes dry yeast
2 2/3 cups very warm (105 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups (about) bread flour
Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and let sit 5 minutes.† Stir in the sugar.† In a large bowl, stir together the salt and 3 cups of all-purpose flour.† Add the yeast mixture and beat to form a smooth batter. Gradually beat in enough of the bread flour to make a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
If you have a mixer with a bread hook, knead about 8 minutes by machine; by hand, knead 12 to 15 minutes, until dough is springy.† Form dough into a ball, coat well with butter or oil, and return to the bowl it was mixed in.† Cover top with clean towel or plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and divide in half.† Let rest 10 minutes.† Roll each half into a baguette to fit your pan.† (If using a cookie sheet, place the dough diagonally to provide more length.) Sprinkle cornmeal onto baking sheets and place the loaves on top.† Slash tops with a sharp knife.† Place loaves in cold oven, turn to 400 degrees and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until browned as desired.† For a crisper crust, brush loaves every 10 minutes or so with water.† Makes 2 loaves (6 to 8 servings each).