Cuban Bread

This is a really quick and easy bread recipe. It can be done in under 1 1/2 hours. This bread ends up with a deep brown color, rather than a golden brown. It has a nice crunchy crust and a dense and chewy inside. Delicious! I got this recipe from Stephanie at Fun Foods on a Budget. Thanks Stephanie, I finally got around to making this.

Cuban Bread

5-6 cups all-purpose flour (you can substitute whole wheat flour for 1 or 2 cups)
1 tbsp. yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
1 tbsp sesame or poppy seeds (optional)

Mix 4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, and salt. Pour in hot water and beat 100 strokes, or 3 minutes with a mixer. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead 8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes (yes, 15 minutes). Punch down. Shape into two round or oblong loaves, and place on a baking sheet. Cut an X or a few slashes 1/2 inch deep on top with a sharp knife. If desired, brush with water and sprinkle with seeds (I chose not to do this because I don’t like it when the seeds fall off as you slice the bread – it’s really annoying).Place on the middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a cake pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until deep golden brown.
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