A Brief History and Culinary Delight
Bread is one of the oldest and most beloved staples of human cuisine, and Cuban bread is no exception. With its unique texture and flavor, it has become a staple of Cuban cuisine and is enjoyed by people all over the world. In this article, we will explore what makes Cuban bread different, its history, and what pairs well with it.
What makes Cuban bread different?
Cuban bread is distinct from other types of bread due to its texture, shape, and flavor. Here are some characteristics that set it apart:
- Texture: Cuban bread has a crusty exterior and a soft, airy interior.
- Shape: It is typically long and cylindrical, with tapered ends.
- Flavor: It has a slightly sweet taste, with a hint of tanginess.
What is Cuban bread called?
Cuban bread is simply called “pan Cubano” in Spanish, which translates to “Cuban bread” in English. It is a staple in Cuban cuisine and is used in many traditional dishes.
What is the history of Cuban bread?
The origins of Cuban bread can be traced back to the late 1800s when Cuban immigrants began arriving in Florida. They brought with them their love of bread and a recipe that would eventually become known as Cuban bread. The recipe typically includes flour, yeast, salt, water, and a small amount of lard or vegetable shortening. In the early 1900s, Cuban bread became a popular food in Tampa, Florida, where it was used to make the famous Cuban sandwich. The sandwich typically includes roast pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard, all served on a lightly toasted Cuban bread.
What bread is closest to Cuban bread?
If you can’t find Cuban bread in your area, there are a few bread options that come close:
- French bread: With a similar texture and shape, French bread can be a good substitute for Cuban bread.
- Italian bread: Another option with a similar texture and crusty exterior, Italian bread can work well as a substitute.
However, keep in mind that neither of these options will have the slight sweetness and tanginess that Cuban bread is known for.
What pairs well with Cuban bread?
Cuban bread can be enjoyed on its own or with coffee, but it also pairs well with a variety of dishes. Here are a few suggestions:
- Cuban sandwich: As mentioned earlier, the Cuban sandwich is a classic way to enjoy Cuban bread.
- Black beans and rice: The soft interior of Cuban bread is perfect for sopping up the delicious juices of black beans and rice.
- Butter and honey: The sweetness of Cuban bread is enhanced by a layer of butter and honey.
Cuban bread is a unique and beloved part of Cuban cuisine. Its distinct texture, shape, and flavor make it a favorite of bread lovers around the world. Whether enjoyed on its own or paired with other dishes, it is a culinary delight that is sure to please. Click here for my cuban coffee recipe.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- ¾ cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons lard
- 2 teaspoons fine salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed – divided
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, or as needed
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 teaspoon yeast for the starter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight.
- In a mixing bowl, combine 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 packet), 2 teaspoons sugar, and 3/4 cup warm water. Let rest for 15 minutes until yeast is alive and bubbling on the surface. Add lard and salt to the bowl, followed by 1 cup of flour. Mix until dough forms a sticky ball. Add the starter, plus all but 1/2 cup of the remaining flour and mix.
- Knead the dough on a work surface lightly dusted with flour until it forms a firm ball. Add up to 1/2 cup of the remaining flour as necessary. The dough should be soft and pliable with a slightly sticky surface.
- Put the dough in a bowl and cover its surface with vegetable oil. Then, cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and leave it in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, which usually takes about 2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Move the dough to a surface with a light dusting of flour. Gently press the dough into a rectangle with floured hands. Split the dough into two halves and mold each one into a rectangle that is 12 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Roll the dough tightly from the long ends to shape two thin loaves, then lightly flatten the tops. Put the loaves onto the baking sheets and
sprinkle them with flour. Cover with a dry towel and let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until they have doubled in size.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). With a sharp knife, create a 1/4-inch deep slit down the top of each loaf. Lightly spray the loaves with water.
- Place the pan with your 2 loaves in the preheated oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the loaves turn golden brown.
- Move the loaves to a cooling rack and wait for them to cool down for approximately 5 minutes before slicing.
- Eat and enjoy!
- “History of Cuban Bread.” Tampa Bay Times, accessed March 31, 2023,
- “Cuban Bread vs. French Bread: What’s the Difference?” The Spruce Eats, accessed March 31, 2023, https://www.thespruceeats.com/cuban-bread-vs-french-bread-3052129.
- “How to Make a Classic Cuban Sandwich.” Food & Wine, accessed March 31, 2023, https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/classic-cuban-sandwich.
- “Cuban Bread and Black Beans and Rice.” Serious Eats, accessed March 31, 2023, https://www.seriouseats.com/cuban-bread-and-black-beans-and-rice-recipe.