DIY Homemade Cuban Bread

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I got a lot of inspiration when I was in Miami a few weeks ago. The food scene there is incredible, where you can experience a fascinating montage of flavors. I knew from day one that I needed to figure out how to make my own Cuban bread. Cuban bread uses lard as the fat base. I know this might scare you. Lard is an ugly word, but the actual product is all natural and a great option when dealing with fat. All-vegetable shortening may sound prettier, but lard has been around for a long time. You can find it in almost any grocery store. It’s usually in the same area as shortening. It may come in a jar or box. give it a try. It makes some amazing pastries and cookies. Lard, lard, lard. It’s an ugly word, but boy does it make some delicious stuff. Embrace lard. I love lard. Use lard.

Cuban bread has a crispy crust with a tender crumb inside. It’s like eating a loaf of baguette crossed with a pastry. Best enjoyed fresh to preserve the crispy outer layer.

Hands-on time: 15 to 20 minutes
start to finish: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Yield: 1 very long loaf

raw material

1 TB active dry yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lard, melted

instruct

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water. Use a dough hook to mix on low setting.

2. Slowly add half of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating bread flour and all-purpose flour.

3. Pour in the melted lard and mix well, then gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is reconciled and no longer sticky. Don’t add too much flour. The dough should remain soft and pliable, but not too hard.

4. Knead on low for 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Transfer the dough to a large lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

6. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 12 inches by 20 inches. Roll up tightly from the long end to form a 20-inch roll. Roll back and forth a few times to taper the ends.

7. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet (you may have to do it from corner to corner to accommodate). Cover loosely and let rise an additional 1 hour.

8. Place a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. The water creates steam in the oven.

9. Brush the sourdough bread with a tablespoon or two of water, then use a sharp knife to cut a slice or two in the center.

10. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bread is browned.

11. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe adapted from 3 people in Miami

Fresh DIY Homemade Cuban Bread on a Cutting Board

cooking class

This recipe uses an at-home steam oven technique. Commercial bakeries use steam ovens to create a chewy, crunchy and super tasty crust. You can do this in a normal household oven by placing a shallow dish of water on the bottom rack of the oven. The heat of the oven turns the water into steam. Be careful when opening the oven door to avoid scalding you from escaping steam.