Hi and a huge welcome to Steve’s kitchen and a big thank you to you Marcel for requesting a Cuban sandwich. Now I’m not just going to take two slices of bread and put them together but I’m actually going to make Cuban bread as well and I’ve simplified the recipe so you can follow it at home. I really think a good Cuban sandwich has to have Cuban bread in it. So Cubans around the world I hope you’ll agree with me and I hope I do this some justice. Please give me the thumbs up down below if you are enjoying the show. Let’s get on, make the bread and make the sandwich. Into a mixing bowl one and a quarter cups of warm water ,two teaspoons of white or raw sugar, two teaspoons of instant dried yeast, that’s the fast reacting yeast. Give it a little mix through, cover and set aside in a warm area to let the yeast bubble and froth. So after about 20 minutes you’re getting this foam starting to settle on top. Now we need 500 grams that’s about a pound of strong flour or bread flour. I’m just going to add that over the top of the water and then using a fork I’m going to start drawing the moisture into the bread flour and at the same time I’m going to add a couple of teaspoons of salt. As the flour starts to absorb the moisture you can then take the fork away and start using your hands to draw together the dough and at this point it should still be a little bit crumbly. Now what makes Cuban bread really delicious is the unique addition of lard. We’ve got about a quarter of a cup of lard which I’m just going to soften in the microwave then I’m going to add this softened lard into the dough and this is going to sort of combine the flour together now and make a beautiful soft bread flour. Now of course you can do this with the stand mixer but I love to do this by hand. Now with that lard in there you’ll see that the bread dough is starting to pull away and leave the bowl clean. At this point I’m going to take it onto a surface and I’m going to start to knead this for a good 10 minutes and what you’ll notice as you’re kneading it the dough will get softer and silkier. Now two comments really about this dough making, if you’re used to making bread dough you will love the silky texture of this, it’s absolutely delicious and secondly a lot of people are going to say to me ‘do you need to use lard to make this bread’ yes you do. If you don’t use lard you’re not making Cuban bread and after 10 minutes you’ve got this unique Cuban dough it’s so silky so springy. I’m going to pop that back in the bowl now but first I’m going to add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and pop the dough in there and just roll it around to coat it. So I’m just going to cover that over now and put it aside in a warm area for at least an hour maybe two until it’s doubled in volume. Two hours later my dough has risen beautifully and doubled in size and look at the elasticity in that it’s absolutely beautiful. I’m just going to take that out, pop it onto a warm surface, a wooden surface preferred and knock the air out, punch it down and knock all the air out of the dough and I’m just going to divide my dough up into two, sprinkle the surface with a little flour just to stop the dough from sticking because I’m going to push this and roll this out to a square or an oblong and it’s good at this point to coat the dough in flour and then start to use a rolling pin and just roll this out. So with a combination of rolling and stretching we’re pulling our dough out to a sort of oblong shape like this and we’re going to be making something very similar to a French baguette but it won’t stay round like the French baguette it will flatten slightly. So when you’re happy with the shape I’m just going to turn that dough over, so we’ve got the rough side this side and I’m going to start rolling the dough into a roll but I’m pinching and tensioning the surface of the dough as I go and if you like you can just wet your fingers down and just turn these ends over and pull them into a nice sort of square ends. The next stage is to take a baking tray sprinkle over some coarse semolina and then we’re just going to lift our bread onto there. Now with a traditional Cuban bread they use a palm frond to make an indentation, a little line across the bread but I’ve seen many people use a shoelace or a piece of cord like this. So I’ve soaked this cord in water and we’re just going to lay it across and just gently push it into the into the dough. Now I need to set this aside for 45 minutes to an hour to let it rise and a great idea is to pop it inside a plastic bag like this, just cover it over to keep the dough from drying out and then just pull the plastic away so it doesn’t stick to the dough. Now my Cuban breads have risen beautifully, it’s been about an hour. I’m just going to brush some water over the top. Now people are going to ask me what is the shoelace or what is the piece of cord for, well the original Cuban breads they have like a palm leaf going across them which cracks the surface of the bread as it bakes and I read that this is probably the best way if you can’t get hold of palm Leaves, just to put a damp shoestring across the top as it bakes. So now my oven has preheated to 200 degrees Celsius that’s 400 degrees Fahrenheit and these are going to go in for 18 to 20 minutes I want to keep an eye, I want a beautiful golden brown surface on them. One other thing I will be doing five minutes after they’ve been in the oven I’m just going to pull the oven door open and I’m going to baste them again with a little more water, it’s going to give us a lovely crisp surface to the bread. Now the Cuban bread is out of the oven look at that it smells delicious and see that beautiful crack that’s come down the middle there, I’m going to leave those on the rack to cool down and then we’re going to make a Cuban sandwich. So if you just joined me to learn how to make Cuban bread well your videos finished now, please put the thumbs up down there, subscribe, stay in touch but if you joined me to see the Cuban sandwich stay tuned straight after this or click this bread now and you can see this wonderful bread turned into a fantastic Cuban sandwich, be good