Recipes

Tasty Tuesday: Cuban Bread Recipe

Cuban Bread Recipe

My hubby grew up in Tampa. And one of the things he really misses since we’ve moved out west is Cuban bread. If you’ve ever lived in Tampa, or maybe just visited, you might be familiar with the Cuban sandwich. And if it’s not made with Cuban bread, it’s not really a Cuban sandwich.

So, I set about trying to make Cuban bread. I came across this recipe and my husband was pretty impressed with the result. Cuban bread is crusty on the outside and porous on the inside. So, having been deprived of real Cuban bread for several month, this was pretty close!

For the right flavor, it’s important to make the starter at least 24 hours in advance. Here’s how you do that:

Dissolve 3/4 tsp active dry yeast in 1/3 cup warm water. After 5-10 minutes, add
1/3 cup flour. Cover and put in the fridge overnight. The first time I made this, I actually made the starter in the morning and allowed the starter to sit out several hours at room temperature and it still turned out ok.

Ingredients

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp lard or solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/4 batch starter (probably about 3 TBSP or so)
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 cups bread or all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 2 TBSP of the water. After 5-10 minutes, stir in shortening, water, and 3 TBSP of the starter. Add the flour and salt and mix and knead 6-8 minutes. This is one of those jobs I love my Kitchenaid mixer for! Add flour as needed, until the dough is pliable and not sticky.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles its’ bulk, about 45 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 14 inch long tube (kind of like making a snake with play-dough) and place on a French loaf pan greased and sprinkled with fine cornmeal or semolina flour. You could use a cookie sheet, but in my opinion, it makes the loaves too flat.

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Place a piece of greased plastic wrap over the loaves, followed by a large cotton dish cloth damped with warm water. Make sure the loaves are completely covered. Let rise in a warm place about an hour.

After about an hour, gently lift the plastic wrap off and put the pan into an oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake about 30 minutes. It will have a somewhat porous texture inside. DH says this is how it’s supposed to be!

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Use it to go with your next Cuban meal or Cuban sandwich!

Have you ever had Cuban bread before?

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12 Comments

  1. I’ve made Pan de Agua with olive oil, but it’s best with lard. My FIL, who is born and raised Cuban from Oriente province, swears the Pan de Agua (water bread) is closest to “home”. Light and very fluffy. Our family who came to visit, says anything else is too dense. 🙂

  2. This is a great recipe! I’ve used starter before, but I don’t have one going now. I need to get on it again, as I’d love to try this bread! I make homemade bread every week!

  3. I have never had cuban bread but I looove Cuban Sandwiches!! Id love to try this and makes some amazing cubans for the family!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Never knew there was a “Cuban Bread”. I figured it would be like tortilla flats or pita bread (pockets). This looks superb, and agree it resembles French bread, would it not be as easy to use the French bread from the store that the store bakes there, not brought in from the mass producers?

    1. You could use French bread in a pinch. Cuban bread has a crusty outside (harder than French bread) that is unique. The loaf is also a little thinner. Even this recipe doesn’t make bread EXACTLY like what you find in Tampa, but it does have the crunchy crust and is about as close as you’ll get! But if you don’t have access to Cuban bread and it is not work the effort to make it, you could use French brad. It will still taste great!

  5. I have never had Cuban bread, but it looks delicious. I also don’t have a french loaf pan. I might have to look into getting one of those. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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