We are the Bread Baking Babes, and we love to bake bread. Sometimes we do other things too, which is why Ilva’s choice for us this month is a welcome addition to our repertoire. This Cuban Bread, from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, calls for a good amount of yeast and rolls the final proof into the baking step by starting the bake in a cold oven. This means we can have a delicious boule with a unique bronze-colored crust and a soft, close, sweet crumb in two hours from start to finish, leaving us time for various other things like working, spending time with our families, exercising, and hobbies. (My latest hobby is sweeping tiny crunchy ball bearings from every corner of the kitchen. If that’s not your thing, do not coat your bread with errant amaranth seeds, as I did. Stick to sesame.)
Like most of the other Babes, I was skeptical about starting the proof/bake in a cold oven, but it worked. You may need to play with the baking time, as each oven seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to heating to temperature. My bake was just about 50 minutes, as the recipe specified. Instead of active dry or fresh yeast, I used my usual instant, a whopping 10.4 grams of it (the equivalent of two packets of active dry). And, while the recipe calls for hot water, I was afraid that truly hot would kill those babies, so I made mine lukewarm at about 110F.
Ready to try this cold oven/hot water bread? Send your blog post link to Ilva by midnight on January 28 to be included in the Buddy roundup.