My Great-Grammy’s Cuban Bread Recipe

(Photos by me.)

Happy Monday, everyone! Here’s a yummy (and easy) recipe to start your week off with.

My French-Canadian grandmother somehow got her hands on this “Cuban” bread recipe while living in Concord, NM in the 1920’s. Her husband owned a motorcycle shop, and while he was playing with his bikes all day she would paint folk scenes, play the organ, and bake bread. Pity, I never asked her what makes a loaf of bread “Cuban”.

Something about this recipe makes it super-duper easy. If my mom (bless her and her lack of baking genes) can make perfect crusty loaves every time, I promise you that you can too.

THE WHAT:

1 packet (2 1/2 tsp.) yeast

2 cups warm water

1 1/2 tb. salt

1 tb. sugar

6-9 cups flour

Corn starch

THE HOW:

1. Start by dissolving the yeast in the hot water. Mix in sugar and salt.

2. Add flour, one cup at a time until dough is smooth.

3. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until dough is double the size.

4.While dough is rising, sprinkle corn starch on a baking sheet. Fill a teapot full with water, and get a large casserole dish ready and waiting.

5. When dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface into two long loaves. (I found that this dough did not need as much kneading as I am used to. Play with it, see what results work well for you.)

6. Place loaves on the corn-starch-sprinkled baking sheet. Turn on the kettle to get the water boiling, and let the loaves rise for five more minutes.

7. When the loaves have risen, serrate the loaves on their tops with a knife, 4-6 slices per loaf. Brush with water.

8. Pour the boiling water in the casserole dish, and place (carefully!!!) on the lower rack in the oven. This will keep your loaves moist while they’re baking. Put the bread on the other rack, and, starting from the cold oven, turn the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 degrees Celsius).

9. Bake loaves for about 40 minutes or until outsides are crusty.

Some Notes and Tips:

I used all whole-wheat flour for these loaves, and they didn’t rise as much as I would like. Next time I’m going to try cutting half whole wheat, half white flour, and see how that goes. If you use all-white flour, you should have absolutely no trouble getting these puppies to rise.

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3 responses to “My Great-Grammy’s Cuban Bread Recipe

  1. I like the idea of baking the bread with some hot water in the oven, which probably helps form a nice crust as well.

    One thing I’ve learned is that straight whole wheat flour can be rough on the gluten fibers that would allow a bread to get a good rise. If you don’t want to sacrifice the hearty flavor and texture of the whole wheat, buy a box of wheat gluten and add 1 1/2 teaspoons for each cup of whole wheat flour. You’ll see markedly better rise in your loaves.

  2. Looks so tasty!

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