Pan Cubano

                                                                                          

Ingredients:

For the starter:

For the dough:

Preparation:

For the starter:

The day before baking, mix the starter ingredients dissolving the yeast in the water first.

You want a thick paste when you add the flour.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let "ripen" in refrigerator for 24 hours.

(Leftover starter will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be frozen).

For the dough:

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 3 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl.

When the mixture is foamy (5 to 10 minutes), stir in the lard, the remaining water, and the starter.

Stir in salt and flour, 1 cup at a time.

You want to get a dough that is stiff enough to knead.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

The dough should be pliable and not sticky.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm spot until it doubles its' bulk 2 hours. Punch down.

To form the loaves, divide the dough in 4 pieces. Roll out each to form a 35 cm long tube, with rounded ends

Put 2 of the loaves on a baking sheet, about 15 cm apart.

Cover with dampened cotton towel and let rise until double their bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Lay a dampened piece of thick kitchen string or twine all along the top length of the loaf.

Bake until the breads are lightly browned on top and sound hollow when lightly tapped, about 30 minutes.

Let them cool slightly and remove the strings. They will leave a distinct little ridge on top.