Saturday, March 28, 2009

James Beard's Cuban bread 2

I wanted to make a more authentic Cuban bread, so I started with the James Beard recipe and added a little lard. Well, about 1/4 cup of bacon drippings, actually. I proofed the yeast in the full volume of warm water with a few teaspoons of sugar. I reduced the salt from 2 tablespoons to about 1 1/2. The dough was easy to work with and rose very aggressively. I shaped the 12 to 14 inch loaves using a technique I read about in a couple of places, slapping down the dough and then folding it over. I didn't go so far as to roll it, though. This time I made a long incision down the full length of each loaf rather than diagonal slits. The deeper slits worked better; I should try 1/2 inch next time.

These loaves rose much better than the last ones. I didn't take them quite as far when baking, ending up with a somewhat softer, lighter crust. The crumb is considerably more open and soft. The flavor of the fat is detectable and pleasant. Overall, very good.

This is pretty much exactly what I wanted for Cuban sandwiches. I'm planning to make them for dinner.

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