(c) A Marcy Goldman, BetterBaking.Com Original Recipe
Palm fronds are traditionally draped over the rising bread. If you feel particularly brave, you may find the fronds or banana leaves in a Latin market. This is a super bread for Cuban sandwiches, either fresh or grilled (or toasted, for that matter). To grill sandwiches at home, use your Lodge cast iron skillet (with parchment paper between sandwich and pan) as a panini grill. You can also use this bread to make hoagie or Cuban style rolls for the legendary Cuban sandwiches which include sliced roasted pork, cheese, lettuce and pickles.
If you have already have a starter on hand, let it warm up a bit and use about 1/2 cup of it for this recipe.
Starter (8 hours ahead or overnight)
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 batch of the starter (from above)
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
4 to 5 cups bread flour
Prepare starter by mixing water and yeast. Stir in bread flour to make a thick paste. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 8 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
For dough, stir yeast, sugar and water together. Stir in starter, then shortening and most of flour. Mix a bit, then add salt. Mix, then knead, adding more flour as required to make a stiff dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and insert the entire bowl into a large plastic bag. Allow to rise for about 45 minutes.
Gently deflate dough and divide into four sections. Shape each into a long roll (12 to 14 inches). Place two each on two baking sheets, allowing room for the loaves to rise. Insert entire baking sheets into plastic bags (new trash bags are fine) and let rise again (30 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Lay a damp piece of thick twine on top of each loaf (running down the length of the loaf) - optional.
Place sheets in oven, reduce heat to 350 F. and bake until loaves are lightly browned.
© This is a Marcy Goldman/BetterBaking.com original recipe
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