Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"If I'd known THAT was going to happen, I wouldn't have gone to get BREAD!"

Maybe if the batty Acadian woman had had this bread recipe at her disposal, Sara wouldn't have totaled her car that fateful day in Nova Scotia. Who can say?

At any rate, this recipe is great for people who are lazy about kneading, like I am. I gave a pretty haphazard knead job and it still turned out as it should -- golden crust, chewy inside, etc. It's almost dense enough to be a meal on its own (thanks mostly to the bad kneading). Smear on some butter or blue cheese and you won't need to eat again for hours. That's a long time for me.

If you're the only one eating this bread, freeze half.

Recipe: Cuban Bread
Adapted from the 1961 New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne

1 package active dry yeast
2 C lukewarm water
1 and 1/4 T salt
1 T sugar
6 to 7 C sifted flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the salt and sugar, stirring thoroughly. Add the flour, one cup at a time, beating it in with a wooden spoon or your hands. If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook or a food processor with a dough blade, that will work, too. You can stop adding flour once the dough is fairly stiff.

When the dough is thoroughly mixed, shape it into a ball, place in a grease bowl, and cover with a towel. Let stand in a warm place (80 - 85 degrees) until doubled in bulk. (Under the covers on my bed seemed to work well.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a longish, French-style loaf. Sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with cornmeal; place dough on baking sheet and allow it to rise for another 5 minutes.

Bring an oven-proof pan of water to a boil. Slash the top of the loaf three times with a knife and brush with water. Place in a cold oven. Set oven to 400 degrees, and put the pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven. Bake the loaf until crusty, about 45 minutes.

-Remove bread from oven after about 25 minutes, brush with water again, and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until done.
-For more glaze and less crustiness, brush loaf with an egg white beaten with one tablespoon of water (in place of just water).

(Above photo stolen from Maddy Read)

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