3/4 tsp yeast
1/3 c water
1/3 c bread flour
Prepare the starter the day before baking day.
Dissolve the yeast in the water and stir in the flour.
Cover the bowl and allow the starter to ripen in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Leftover starter will keep for several days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 6 months.
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons solid shortening
1/2 starter batch
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups bread flour
To make the dough, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 3 tablespoons water in a large mixing bowl. When the mixture is foamy (5 to 10 minutes), stir in the lard, the remaining water and the 1/2 batch of starter. Mix well with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Stir in the salt and the flour, 1 cup at a time, to obtain a dough that is stiff enough to pull away from the sides of the bowl, but soft enough to knead. The dough can also be mixed and kneaded in a mixer fitted with a dough hook or in a food processor fitted with the dough blade.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add flour as needed, but not too much. The dough should be pliable, but not sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm draft free spot until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough. To make the loaves, divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each to form a 14 inch long log or cylinder. Divide the cylinders between 2 baking sheets with 6 inches space between and let rise in a warm place until doubles in bulk, about 1 hour.
The dough can be allowed to rise at a lower temperature, even in the refrigerator, but the rising time will be 3 to 4 hours. Preheat oven to 375F.
In the bottom of your oven, place a pan filled with hot water. The steam will help to make a nice crust on the loaves. Lay a dampened piece of thick kitchen string or twine about 1/8″ thick on top of each loaf, running the length of the loaf. Bake until the breads are light browned on top and sound hollow when light tapped, about 30 minutes.
Let the loaves cool slightly and remove the strings.
Transfer the breads onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 4 loaves.
Sandwich Filling (for 1 serving):
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 oz roast pork
2 oz ham, cooked
1 oz Swiss cheese
3 tomato slices
1 Iceberg lettuce leaves
3 slices dill pickle
1 tablespoon butter
Butter the outside crust of a Cuban loaf.
Split the loaf and spread mayonnaise and mustard inside. Layer with thinly sliced ingredients and press in a sizzling hot panini grill or sandwich press until toasted to your desired doneness and the cheese has melted nicely.
Slice the sandwich diagonally and serve.
The ingredients for the sandwich filling are sufficient for one sandwich.