In a medium-size pot, combine the pork meat, garlic, onion, Bay Leaf and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover with the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer partly covered, occasionally skimming and discarding fat from surface, about 1 hour or until meat is tender enough to shred. Remove onion, garlic, Bay leaf, and discard. Skim the broth and when the meat is cool enough to handle shred into bite-size pieces and set aside.
While the meat is cooking. Soak the dry peppers in a medium size pot with warm water for about 20 minutes. Drain the peppers and place in the blender with the garlic cloves, cumin and 1/3 cup of soaking water. Process until you have a smooth sauce. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat, add the dry peppers sauce, 1 cup of the meat broth and cook for 8 minutes. Add shredded pork and season with salt and ground black pepper. Add more broth if needed. Simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
Place corn husks into a large bowl or pot. Pour enough boiling water over the husks to cover. Place a metal lid or heatproof dish on the husks to keep them submerged. Soak for about 45 minutes. Remove, drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the lard by hand or with an electric mixer until it is light. Add baking powder and the masa-harina and gradually the stock until dough is very light. If your dough looks dry add more broth or water. Taste and add salt if needed.
Continue to beat until dough is well combined, light and smooth. To make sure your dough is light enough place a small amount in a glass with water. It will float when it’s ready.
Now comes the fun part. Assembling the Tamales. Place a small amount of the dough in the center of a corn husk. Using the back of a spoon spread the dough and top it with 1 1/2 tablespoon of the meat filling. Fold the sides of the husks. Fold bottom toward the center. And place tamales standing up in your already prepared tamal steamer cover with a layer of corn husks and a dish towel, cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add more water to the steamer if needed during that time. For more pictures and instructions to assemble and cooking the tamales check this post “Chicken in green sauce Tamales”
To check for doneness remove one of the tamales and if the husk can easily be removed from the dough they are ready. But if the dough sticks to the husk place back into the pot and cooks for 15 more minutes.