Monday, January 16, 2012

Amazing Babe bread in two hours! {Cuban Bread}

For this instalment of the Babes Baking Bread Ilva put us on the track for a different bread. The usual suspects; flour, yeast, water, salt nothing new. But this gem only requires a very short fermentation and after shaping it goes right into the oven....  Into a COLD oven. Yes that is right, the rise-after-shape part takes place in the oven heating up. Isn't that amazing?

Let me assure you that it is quite eh different but the amazing part is that the result is a great loaf of bread. A real one, crackly crisp crust, nicely browned and a soft but firm interior. Like you'd spent half a day getting it baked.

You should have seen the Babe mails, one after the other pulled this loaf (or loaves) out of her oven and squealed that this method got us real bread. Nice soft sandwich bread said one, really great ovenspring said the toadstool baker. Another told us that this is bread and explained that if it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck; it's a duck. (Read bread for duck, just being helpful here)

Well mine reached glorious heights and colored a deep golden brown! Can you see the ovenspring pushed the sesame seeds on top all the way down the sides?

Have to say it's all you want in a dough to work with, silken, soft and so elastic! I baked two regular loaves today (no minor feat because I really suck at baking anything lately) and those plus the Cuban in the oven make me yearn to bake more and more bread. Tonight. Tomorrow. Don't care if there is no one to eat it, I will share it with innocent passersby if I need to.

Dough (makes two 25 cm round loaves)
( from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads)

775 gr bread flour                    (original uses:  5-6 cups of bread or AP flour )
480 gr hot water                      (original uses: 500 ml/2 cups hot water)
2.1/4 tsp instant yeast             (original uses 50 gr fresh/ 2 packages dry yeast)
1 tbs table salt
2 tbs mörk sirap                      (original uses: 2 tbs sugar)
(which is a Swedish dark sugar syrup still hanging around in my pantry)

by hand or mixer (15 mins)
Place 4 cups flour in a mixing bowl and add the yeast, salt and sugar. Stir until they are well blended. Pour in the hot water and beat with 100 strong strokes, or three minutes with a mixer flat beater.
Gradually work in the remaining flour (using fingers if necessary), 1/2 cup at a time until the dough takes shape and is no longer sticky.

kneading (8 mins)
Sprinkle the work surface with flour. Work in the flour as you knead, keeping a dusting of it between the dough and the work surface. Knead for 8 minutes by hand or with a dough hook until the dough is smooth, elastic, and feels alive under your hands.

rising (15 mins)
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a warm (26-37°C/80-100°F) place until doubled in bulk, about 15 minutes.

shaping (4 mins)
Punch down the dough, turn it out on the work surface, and cut into two pieces. Shape each into a round. Place on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife or razor, slash X on each of the loaves, brush water, and, if desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.

Baking (205°C/400°F; 45-50 mins)
Place the baking sheet on the middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a large pan of hot water on the shelf below, and heat the oven to 205°C/400°F. The bread of course, will continue to rise while the oven is heating. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the loaves are a deep golden brown. Thump on the bottom crusts to test for doneness. If they sound hard and hollow, they are baked.

 Followed the instructions to a T including the 100 strokes with a dough whisk. Kneaded with the dough hook attached in stand mixer; 4 minutes on 1 and 5 minutes on 2. Then gave it a couple of slap/folds on the counter and that made it come together all springy and supple but tight. Yummy dough.

Degassed and shaped in two round boules, slashed one without sesame, the other was sesamed first then slashed. Filled a large shallow metal ovendish with boiling water from the kettle and put it in the oven, then slid the loaves in and set the timer for 45-50 minutes. Fan assisted oven on 200C.

Was a bit worried because I baked these in the large oven (90 cm) which takes more time to heat up. Needn't worry, they took their sweet time in the heat but when I got them out after 45-50 minutes they sounded hollow, were beautifully golden brown with a crisp exterior and a creamy soft tight crumb. 

the Family said:
- Silence.. chewing.. reaching for the next slice: Mom, this is genius bread.
- Chewing, swallowing reaching for another slice: hey, epic loaf how much is there?
- So how many slices each of you had already? I'd only had two.. counting.. Mom, is there another one like this?

Safe to say this is a keeper. Thanks Ilva, great choice! As usual; go and see our Kitchen of the Month for the original recipe and the instructions how to bake with us and get an original Baking Buddy Badge designed by Lien! You don't want to miss out on this bread and the Badge!

Some notes:
- Some Babes had lighter colored bread and the votes are undecided which element caused that.
- Some Babes succesfully subbed whole wheat or spelt for some of the white flour
- Some Babes had to pull the loaves out ahead of time because of color/done ness. Keep an eye on it!


  1. Wow your loaves look amazing! That's the colour I wanted, but didn't get. And what an ovenspring, love to see that coming out of the oven.

  2. These look amazing and I must try this recipe as I LOVE bread!

  3. Yours looks so beautifully crackly and crusty!

  4. Oh Karen, I'm so happy you liked it and that the teens did as well! Thank You for baking them!

  5. Hey!! What do you mean "toadstool bread"?!!! I love the look of your bread, especially the triangles of sesame seeds where the slashed cross sprang in the oven.

    Simply stunning!!

  6. Haha Elizabeth.. that was just a loving comment on your purty loaf!

  7. It seems that this bread really hit home with your boys! No wonder, I agree that it's both epic and genious!

  8. Epic and genius and revolutionary and ... FAST!
    Beautiful loaves.
    I can just hear your boys going for this.

  9. I have to get back into baking... This looks and sounds fantastic (if only I had someone to eat it...)

  10. love the texture and color...great blog first time here


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