I lived in Florida for most of my life and one of the things I miss the most is Pan Cubano (Cuban Bread). One of my favorite meals back home is Pressed Cuban Sandwiches. Unfortunately out here in Louisiana the proper bread is no where in sight.
Pan Cubano, Cuban Bread
1 package of yeast (instant or active dry)
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
6-7 cups sifted all purpose flour
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water (about 110*F).
Add salt & sugar, mixing it in with a non-reactive spoon.
Sift your flour in a separate bowl.
Add the sifted flour, about one cup at a time, to the water, yeast, salt and sugar mixture.
Once the dough is thoroughly mixed, shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl.
Grease top and cover lightly with plastic wrap.
Let stand in warm place until double in size.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Prepare a baking sheet by sprinkling it with cornmeal.
Boil some water on the stove top and place in a large pan on the bottom rack of the oven. The steam will help the bread cook and prevent burning.
Shape the dough into two long loaves. Arrange on a baking sheet. Allow to rise 5 minutes. Slash the tops in 2-3 places. Brush with water and place in cold oven.
Set oven to 400 degrees and place a pan of boiling water in bottom of oven. Bake 40-45 minutes until crusty. When your bread is done, you should hear a hollow sound when "knocking" on it
Let the bread cool before cutting. It will be hard to wait because the smell is amazing.