Just to be clear, the emphasis is on buns – as in they are buns made of Cuban bread – not on bread, as if there were some other type of buns other than bread. Well, I mean, there are, but this is a food blog. God. You people.
So let’s just get this clear right off the bat. I don’t know anything about Cuban bread. I don’t know what it’s like or what it’s supposed to be like, other than in Cuban sandwich form, at which time it is a long bun, pressed flat around its delicious contents. Maybe that’s a different kind of bread than this recipe, I don’t know. So I have no idea how accurate this is, as a representation of Cuban bread. But it’s tasty and quick and the recipe I got from Real Mom Kitchen SAYS it’s Cuban bread and why would she lie? At least, she almost definitely knows more than I do about the subject. What I can tell you is this: it’s white, it’s soft on the inside and crusty on the outside, it tastes good, and the leftover one is going to house my dinner tonight.
The original recipe was for loaves, but since I was making shredded beef (more on this in the next post; it takes long enough for me to crank out a post about ONE recipe that I figured it would be asking for trouble if I doubled up – and if you read that and thought “uh, double up, uh, uh,” you are my favourite), I halved the 2-loaf recipe and made it into 4 large buns instead of one loaf. I may have picked the wrong bread for the job, though – I feel like shredded-meat sandwiches should be on buns that are soft through and through, including the crust, but then again, I’m not from the part of the country where these things originated, so maybe I know nothing. This bread is still great. And you can’t beat it for speed. But next time, I think it’ll be a loaf, and I’ll leave something else to be buns. Or maybe I’ll just skip the cake pan full of water trick, because that’s supposed to be for crust enhancement, right? So if I don’t want to enhance the crust… right? That makes sense, doesn’t it?
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hot water
sesame seeds for sprinkling over the top (you could also use poppy seeds)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the yeast, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Well, fair’s fair, you don’t have to use a stand mixer, but it will make the next step a lot easier.
Add the hot water and beat for 3 minutes. If you’re doing this by hand, have fun counting 100 strokes, because that’s how many you have to stir!
Stir in the remaining flour until dough is no longer sticky.
Knead for 8 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel (I used a damp paper towel to no ill effect) and let rise for 15 minutes.
Punch it down. I never know how much to punch dough down, so I just gave it a few good wallops and called it a day.
Put the dough on a baking sheet in whatever shape you want it to be, and cut slashes in the top.
Brush the top with water and sprinkle the seeds over it.
Arrange your oven so that you have one rack in the middle and one in the bottom.
Put the baking sheet on the middle rack, and a cake pan full of water on the bottom.
Turn the oven on to 400 and bake for 40 – 50 minutes (from the time you turn it on, not from the time it reaches 400).