I suppose, I should start off by saying that this is not a sponsored post, or a review post or even a recommendation post; it’s just going to sound like a lot of the three! It happens to be a post of happy coincidence, or a blissful accident or the perfect opportunity.
The last few months I’ve put the brakes on the blog a bit to catch up with my normal life. Posting once a week has been great and it allows me to catch up with reading other blogs, trying recipes out and basically doing other things. I didn’t realise how much time the blog was taking from my regular life.
This extra time has allowed me to concentrate on some of my own projects, my children’s projects and my husband’s doings. Going off on a tangent here for a bit, I wanted to share this project that Laith had to make for his geometry module. It’s a model showing general geometry and math terms. The sci-fi nerds that we are, we made the Star Destroyer from Star Wars. Turned out really well, and I’m not afraid to say that I did a lot of the work. I am the biggest nerd around and it doesn’t help that I am also married to one.
So, anyway, back to the regularly scheduled post; my husband for the last 9 months or so, has been working for a high end appliance company selling the most gorgeous fridges and ranges you have ever seen. Yes, I’m talking about the ones that cost tens of thousands. He gave up his life in horrible retail management and is having a ball dealing with nice rich people, designers and builders. He is home for dinner every night and every other weekend; he gets three days off. I love his job too. More than him being home for dinner, I love the appliances at his store and the connections to said appliance representatives. It really is very helpful when you know people, especially if you have a food blog 🙂
One such opportunity arose for me a few weeks ago when I contacted the rep at the Wolf appliance showroom asking to know more about the use of their ovens and ranges (acting like I could ever afford their $12,000 ranges) She invited me to their huge showroom to cook and learn on the Wolf appliances themselves. I was a kid in a candy store.
She had brought some salmon and potatoes for us to cook in the new Wolf Steam Convection Oven. We also baked a gorgeous focaccia and some apple tarts. All of these were cooked effortlessly in the amazing steam oven. And wow, did they come out perfectly cooked.
I had such a wonderful time learning and cooking, and of course eating. Karen at Roth Distributing was such a gracious hostess and I am so grateful to her for taking the time to teach me.
Soon after my afternoon at the Wolf showroom, I had a lot of information in my head swimming around with no release. It’s not like I have that calibre appliances readily available in my home! I wanted to practise my newly learned knowledge. So, I emailed one of my hubby’s coworkers who deals with events and promotions.
I offered to make lunch for my husband and his coworkers using their model kitchens. Since I had learnt about the Wolf appliances, that’s the kitchen I picked to work in, but ended up using a wonderful Jenn Air double oven too.
To make a long story short, I am having a blast! I am allowed to use the appliances to cook for my blog, and everyone at Speciality Appliance, Inc, is just absolutely supportive and wonderful. So here is one plug, if you are in Colorado and need appliances, please go to Specialty Appliance. They have the best customer service and the best sales reps. At the Greenwood Village, please ask for my husband; Trace and at the Boulder or Fort Collins locations, just tell them I sent you.
So, what does any of that have to do with this Pan Cubano? Well, when I cooked lunch for SA couple of weeks ago, I wanted to try out the steam oven again. Everyone knows steam is great for bread. I wasn’t looking to make a Pan Cubano or anything special, but I looked for an easy bread recipe that I could tweak for the steam oven. As it happens this bread, from an old cookbook I have, didn’t need any tweaking. I made up the dough the night before and let it proof in the fridge overnight. The next morning before I headed out to the store, I cut the dough in half, shaped it and laid it on the baking sheet. By the time I got to the store (about 40 minutes) the dough was nicely risen.
I placed the loaves on the steam oven baking sheet lined with parchment, popped it into the cold oven, checked the water dispenser was full for the steam, turned on the oven and put the oven on the automatic preset for bread. It couldn’t be simpler. The oven senses the weight of the dough and automatically sets the timer. This took 50 minutes and was perfectly baked with the most perfect paper thin crust, which is characteristic of a Cubano.
Pan Cubano is the bread used for the famous Cuban sandwiches and they are shaped differently, but I was trying to improvise for the size of the oven and frankly, was in hurry to get to the store to start cooking. The cook book actually suggested round loaves or boules, but once again I wasn’t thinking about the significance of the Cubano, just that I needed a good recipe. It was an excellent loaf of bread and made such excellent toast. The guys loved it and the lunch, I will post the other dishes in the coming weeks.
- 5 to 6 cups/725g bread or all purpose flour
- 2 packages/4½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups/470ml hot water
- sesame or poppy seeds, optional
- Place 4 cups of the flour into a mixer bowl and add the yeast, salt and sugar.
- Using the dough hook, mix the flour well.
- Add the water and mix until a sticky dough is formed.
- Mix for 3 minutes.
- Slowly, start working in the rest of the flour, ½ cup at a time until the dough takes shape and is no longer sticky.
- You can knead the dough by hand or with the dough hook.
- Knead for about 8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl and keep in a warm place until doubled in size.
- It will take about 15-20 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and and turn it on the counter.
- Cut the dough in half.
- Shape each into a round or loaf shape.
- Slash the top of the bread with a knife.
- Brush the top with water and sprinkle seeds if using.
- Place the loves on a baking sheet and place in the middle rack of a COLD oven.
- Place a large pan of hot water on the rack below, and heat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Bake for about 50 minutes or until the loaves are deep golden brown.
- Thump the bottom crusts to test for doneness.
- If they sound hollow and hard, they are baked.
- Turn out the loaves on racks and allow to cool before slicing with a serrated knife.
- Since there is no fat, the bread is really only good for a day or two.
- It makes excellent toast when it's a couple days old and freezes well too.
Also, if you do happen to have the Wolf Convection Steam Oven, just place the loaves on to some parchment paper and then on the sheet pan that comes with the oven and place in the cold oven. Locate the Wolf Gourmet preset buttons and find the A11 mode for bread. Turn it on and let the oven do the rest.
So, if anyone is interested in the Wolf Convection Steam Oven, I will post some details below and the links. Like I said this is not a sponsored post or even a recommendation. I liked the oven and if I had surplus money, I would buy it. If you bake a lot of bread, it can be really useful and it does have a lot of other preset options that can give you fool proof cooking results. And it’s very easy to use.
What about y’all? What’s your choice for kitchen appliances? Gas, electric, induction? Do kitchen appliances even matter to you? And do you salivate at the words Thermador, Wolf, Viking, Aga, SubZero, like I do or maybe you already own one? If you do, do you like it?
Hope your week has started off in a spectacular manner! I’m very excited today since I finally get to meet and eat with Abbe from the blog This IS How I Cook! I cannot wait.
Wolf Convection Steam Oven CSO24 MSRP $3850
Specialty Appliance, Inc for great appliances and great customer service in Colorado.