(Photo Credit: Victoria Shes/Unsplash)
Cuban Bread Recipe
½ cup warm water
½ tsp dry yeast
½ cup flour
¾ cup warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 package rapid dry yeast
1 Tbsp salt
3 Tbsp lard (this is what Cubans use to this very day. If you prefer butter, it will make a softer bread)
2 ¼ cups white flour
1 Tbsp cornmeal
Water in a spray bottle
- First, create the starter. Combine the warm water and yeast. Set aside for 15 minutes and then check the bowl. The mixture should be foamy and bubbly. Stir in the flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside overnight.
- The next morning the starter should be bubbly and slightly risen. Set it aside.
- Combine the ¾ cup water, sugar, and yeast in a clean bowl. Let it sit for 15 minutes to check the yeast for freshness. When the time has passed, the yeast should be foamy.
- Melt the lard and add it to the bowl, along with the salt and one cup of flour.
- Mix it well to form a sticky wet dough. Add the starter and another cup and a half of the flour. Stir well. The dough should start to form a ball.
- Turn the dough put onto a lightly floured surface and knead in some of the remaining flour. Keep kneading until the dough is shiny and elastic.
- Coat a large mixing bowl with some plain vegetable oil and place the dough ball in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean dish towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for at least two hours or until it doubled in size.
- Add plain vegetable oil to a large baking sheet in a thin layer. Sprinkle the cornmeal all over it. Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a long rectangle loaf that is about a half-inch thick and 12-18 inches long. Roll the dough from the long side to form a very skinny rolled loaf.
- Place the loaf on the pan and repeat with the remaining dough to form a second loaf. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and let the bread rise for 60-90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a slit in the top of the loaves by running a sharp knife or razor blade lengthwise down the loaf of bread. This is in place of the traditional palm frond that is placed on the loaves. Since fronds are usually not available for the home baker, slashing the dough will help with the appearance of the Cuban bread. Spray the bread lightly with water. This will promote a crispy loaf. Place the loaves in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes misting every 10 minutes with water. Remove from the oven and allow the loaves to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.
Recipe Credit: Robyn Webb