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Bread - Pan de Sal

Pan De Sal
Makes 12 Loaves

2 Envelopes Active Dry Yeast 
1 Cup Hot Water (100 to 110 Degrees)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Baking Pans
1 Pastry Brush

Note** Most bakeries that I came in contact with in Sao Paulo still use potassium bromate as a flour improver and a strengthening agent in the bread. However...Bromates aren't terribly accepted in most countries these days and have been banned in favor of natural rising. To get the same effect, and a little of the same taste that the bromates would impart - finely crush up 1 ascorbic acid tablet and add it in with the flour. The acid will aid in the rising, and strengthen the flour structure a bit. Read more about bromates Here.
  • Stir together first 3 ingredients in a 2 Cup liquid measuring cup.
  • Let yeast mix bloom for 5 min.
  • Stir together flour, shortening, and salt in bowl of a heavy-duty  stand mixer.
  • Add in yeast mix, and beat at medium speed with mixer, using dough hook attachment for 6 min.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 12 equal portions.
  • Knead each portion 3 times - letting the dough rest for 5 minuted between kneads.
  • Shape each portion into a 6-inch log and place on 2 lightly greased baking sheets (Only put 6 loaves per baking sheet - you don't want them to touch too closely, otherwise, you wont get the nice crust all around).
  • Cover dough, and let rise in a warm place (85 to 100 degrees), free from drafts, for 40 min (dough won't double in bulk).Most newer ovens have a bread proofing setting - these are always great as it lets you get the dough out of the way while you're working.
  • Cut a shallow slit, lengthwise, in top of each loaf. (About 1/2" deep)
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 10 min or until just golden .
  • Open the oven and quickly brush the top and sides of each loaf with cold water.Use a pastry brush
  • Close the oven and cook for an additional 3 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and cool on racks