I’ve been slowly working my way through “Bernhard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads”. Today it was “Cuban Bread”. Don’t even ask me why it’s called “Cuban”, because it has exactly the same ingredients as a French bread – flour, yeast, salt, water and a bit of sugar.
This bread is super-easy. I made the dough the evening before using my stand mixer, stuck it in the fridge for a cold prove, then in the morning, punched it down, shaped it, popped it into a cold oven and baked it.
The resulting loaf was absolutely delicious. I never thought it was possible to make a bread at home with a crusty crumb. The crusty crumb enveloped a fluffy white interior, which was sublime. I had it with the coconut butter I made yesterday. The combination of this soft, fluffy bread and the coconut butter reminded me of gai mei bow (chicken tail buns/cocktail buns) – ultra yum! It was also ultra yum with vintage Gouda, and I’m sure it’s absolutely delicious with condensed milk!
I made a double batch of the recipe below and made one plump loaf with two smaller baguettes. You can of course, shape it however you want. Once baked, the loaves freeze pretty well. Just wrap them in a double layer of cling-film (plastic wrap) and place into a bag .Thaw overnight at room temperature when needed.
Makes 1 plump loaf or two short baguettes
Adapted from “Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads“, by Bernhard Clayton
- 15 g (1 T) sugar
- 240 ml (1 c) hot water (around 49-54°C/120-130°F)
- 2 t dry active yeast
- 1 t salt
- 375 g (2 ½ c) plain (all-purpose) flour (you may need up to 450 g, 3 c)
1. In the bowl of the stand mixer, place the sugar, water and dry yeast and stir until incorporated. Allow to stand 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt to the yeast/water mix and stir.
3. With the dough hook attachment, mix the yeast mix and gradually add the flour until all of it is incorporated.
4. Once the dough is formed, knead for an additional 10 minutes.
5. Cover the bowl with cling film (plastic wrap) and place into a warm spot until double in size, about 60 minutes OR place into the refrigerator for an overnight rise. If doing a cold rise, take the dough out and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding to step 6.
6. Punch the dough down and shape into a 18 cm (7-inch) round and place onto a parchment/teflon/non-stick lined baking tray (pan). With a serrated knife, cut an X on the top, then brush the loaf with water.
7. Place the dough into a COLD oven. On the shelf directly under the dough, place a dish full of boiling water.
8. Close the oven door and set the oven to 200°C/400°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes for baguettes, or 40-50 minutes for the loaf. When done, the bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
9. Allow the bread to cool on a baking tray before slicing and serving. Enjoy!