I found out the hard way…in order to make a proper Cuban sandwich, you need to use Cuban bread. Seems logical, right? But I had some Italian bread and I tried to use that. No bueno! It was like a brick, I mean to tell you.
- All-purpose flour. I like to use King Arthur, it’s consistently high quality makes fantastic bread.
- Yeast. I prefer Saf-Instant Premium. I like to abuse my yeast by doing long, cold fermentations to improve the flavor of the bread. After all, the majority of breads are made with very simple ingredients. The yeast is really what is driving the flavor development. Commercial yeast is also doing the heavy lifting in this recipe.
- Lard. This is critical for Cuban bread, it’s what makes the bread softer and adds great flavor.
- Sourdough starter. I use 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sourdough starter in almost all of my bread recipes, pizza crust, rolls etc. The reason I do this is to again add flavor. The mixture of bacteria and wild yeasts adds to the complexity of the flavor.
Combine the ingredients in a stand mixer and knead for 5 minutes. This dough should be relatively soft, slightly sticky, but just clear the bottom of the bowl clean with just a tiny bit sticking when you pull up the dough hook.
I then add the dough to a well oiled bag and refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days to develop the flavor.
After that time, I remove the bag and add it to a bowl of warm water to warm it up and reactivate the yeast. This can take 2-3 hours depending on the temperature but basically once you start to see it rise a bit, it’s ready.
Then, form into loaves and place on cookie sheet. I find that using parchment paper and corn meal is the best way to prevent sticking, and I like the way the corn meal tastes.
Allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour and a half until the dough is double the size. This goes more quickly in an oven with the light on.
And score deeply with a bread lame.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25-30 minutes, until a thermometer reads an internal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This is critical, because all ovens bake differently (my top oven runs 35 degrees high and the bottom one runs 25 degrees low). If you don’t know that, and even accounting for it, you could be pulling your bread too fast. If it looks like it’s browning too quickly, you can tent it with foil or turn the oven temperature down.
And there you go. Two beautiful loaves of Cuban bread, ready for Cuban sandwiches made with Kool-Aid pickles!
Looks funny, tastes delicious!
It also makes a delicious garlic cheese bread!
IF YOU LIKE THIS RECIPE YOU WILL ALSO LIKE:
- Tangzhong Method Sandwich Bread
- Deli Marble Rye Bread
- Jalapeno Corn Bread
- Sourdough Garlic Breadsticks
- New Orleans Style Rolls
- Beer Bread
- Pita Bread
- Overnight Rise Italian Bread
- Deli Rye Bread
- No-Knead Sourdough Bread
- Pumpernickel Boule
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cup warm water
- 4 tablespoons lard
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
- ½ cup sourdough starter
- Combine ingredients in stand mixer and mix with dough hook for 5 minutes. Place in a well-oiled bag and refrigerate for 1 to 5 days. Remove from refrigerator and warm the dough by placing it in a warm water bath or proofing oven. When the dough just starts to rise, form 2 loaves and place loaves on parchment paper with corn meal on it. Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place 1-3 hours, until the dough is doubled. Score deeply with a bread lame and place in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the bread reads 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.
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