James Beard’s Cuban Bread

My Urban Kitchen

I am re-posting this recipe because it is not as visible in the last post and because it is a great and simple bread.

 

(courtesy of Julia Child’s male counterpart, James Beard.  The manly man’s chef.)

A simple recipe, easy to make and probably the best baguette recipe out there for a conventional home oven.

My dear friend June Ivey told me about this recipe.   She came here to work at the Vienna Christian School after retiring from a full career teaching gifted students in Philadelphia.  She also left behind her James Beard cookbook!  Thank you June!

DO NOT PRE-HEAT your oven.  Starting this bread in a cold oven is what makes the crust so good.

1 package dry yeast

2 cups lukewarm water

1 1/4 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

6 to 7 cups flour (about a kilo)

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add the salt and sugar, stirring thoroughly.  Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating it in with a wooden spoon.  Or use dough hooks on an electric mixer at low speed. Add enough flour to make a fairly stiff dough.

When the dough is thoroughly mixed, shape into a ball.  Place in a greased bowl and grease the top.  Cover with a towel and let stand in a warm place (80 -85 degrees) until double in size.  Turn the dough out onto a floured board and shape into 2 long loaves or two round loaves.

Put them on a lined baking sheet or generously sprinkle cornmeal on the sheet and allow to rise 5 minutes.  Slash the top of the loaves with a very sharp knife in 3 -5 places.  Brush the loaves all over with water.

Place in a cold oven with a pan of boiling hot water on the bottom shelf.  Bake for about 45 minutes at 200༠ C. or until golden brown and the crust is crispy.

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