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Cuban Bread Recipe – Pan Cubano

This easy-to-follow Cuban bread recipe is perfect for beginners. With clear instructions and simple ingredients, you’ll be making delicious homemade Pan Cubano in no time.

A cutting board with a loaf of homemade Cuban Sandwich bread sitting behind to cut slices - Hostess At Heart
Cuban Bread Recipe

Making bread doesn’t have to be a daunting task, especially with this foolproof Cuban bread recipe. It’s easy enough for beginners. With just a few simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps, you’ll soon have a delicious homemade Cuban loaf that rivals any bakery.

Why You’ll Love this homemade Cuban Bread Recipe

  • Do you love the smell of freshly baked bread but have always been intimidated by the thought of making it yourself? This Cubano Bread recipe is easy enough for the beginner with these step-by-step instructions.
  • Simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry or are readily easy to find in your grocery store.
  • This recipe is perfect as Cuban Sandwich Bread, and I’ll be sharing more serving suggestions with you.
A bread baguette sitting on a cutting board next to a dish holding butter - Hostess At Heart

What is Cuban Bread?

Cuban bread is a Latin American bread that’s shaped like a torpedo or batard. It’s a soft and airy loaf of bread shaped like French or Italian bread. Unlike many bread recipes, Pan Cubano uses lard that produces delicious flavor and the perfect chew.

Just like my Medianoche Bread Recipe, I turned to the Three Guys From Miami for my Cuban Bread recipes. They state you can find Cuban Bread in any grocery store in South Florida but it’s not the same as getting it from a Cuban bakery or baking it yourself.

Cuban Bread Ingredients

To make the perfect Cuban bread, you will need a few basic ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry.

Ingredients used to make Cuban Bread including flour, yeast, salt, lard, and water.
Cuban Bread Ingredients
  • Flour – This recipe used a mix of all-purpose flour and bread flour.
  • Active Dry Yeast – If the variations of yeast varieties confuse you, you can read more about them in my Basic Baking article.
  • Sugar – Just a bit of white granulated sugar which is used to activate our yeast.
  • Lard – Creates a soft and fluffy crumb.
  • Salt – Any salt that you use for baking can be used for this recipe for Cuban Bread.
  • Warm water.

How To Make Cuban Bread

Please note, that the printable recipe card has ingredient quantities, complete instructions, and nutritional information. The following is a quick overview of the recipe.

Step 1: For any recipe that uses yeast, I recommend that you activate it first. If it doesn’t perform well, use fresh. If your yeast doesn’t become active, your bread will not rise and you will have wasted all of the other ingredients on a sub-standard loaf of bread.

A small dish holding activated bubbly yeast
Proofed Yeast

Using a small mixing bowl, activate the yeast by combining the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of warm water. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes until foamy or bubbly. While waiting on the yeast, grease a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: Measure out the lard in a glass measuring cup and heat it in the microwave until melted approximately 60 to 90 seconds. Let it cool.

Step 3: Sift the two flours together in a medium-sized bowl. Put the yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the dough hook, and add the remaining warm water and the salt. Gradually add the melted lard alternating with the sifted flour into the yeast mixture.

A ball of dough sitting in a greased bowl - Hostess At Heart

Add only enough of the sifted flour to make the dough smooth and pliable and barely clearing the sides of the mixer. It will still be somewhat sticky. If you add too much flour your bread will be dense. You’ll use about 3 to 3-1/4 cups and can use the remaining flour to roll out the dough. Set the mixer on low and let it knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes.

If you are mixing by hand, knead the bread for 8 to 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and put it in the greased bowl, turning it until the dough is coated on all sides.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place it in a warm area. Allow the dough to rise 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in size.

A glass bowl filled with proofed bread dough - Hostess At Heart

Step 4: On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into an approximate 12×20 rectangle or two 6×10 loaves with a rolling pin or with your hands. Sprinkle more flour on the dough and roll it into a cylinder with a slight taper on both ends. Pinch the loose flap of the rolled dough, making a tight seam.

Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with flour or cornmeal. Place the loaf diagonally onto the baking sheet seam side down. Cover the loaf and allow it to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour or 2-1/2 times it’s original size.

Two baguettes dusted with flour sitting on a baking sheet - Hostess At Heart

Step 5: Put one baking rack on the lowest setting in the oven and the second one in the center setting. Preheat the oven and place a pan of water on the lowest baking rack.

Score the bread down the center using a sharp knife or razor blade, leaving approximately 2 inches from each end uncut. Brush or mist the loaf with water and place it in the oven. After 5 minutes of baking, spray the dough again with water and then continue baking until the bread is lightly browned, 12 to 18 minutes.

Two loaves of baked bread sitting on a cooling rack - Hostess At Heart

Cuban Loaf FAQ’s

Are lard and vegetable shortening the same thing?

No, lard is 100% animal fat whereas shortening is a vegetable shortening.

Do I have to use lard to make authentic Cuban Bread?

No, you can replace the lard with shortening. However, lard adds a delicious flavor and texture to Cuban bread that shortening doesn’t. It’s the ingredient that makes Cuban Bread recipes unique.

How To Store Cuban Bread

Cuban bread should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Homemade bread can be frozen in an airtight container for 3 months.

To thaw, just let it stand at room temperature.

Top-down view of two slices of Pan Cubano bread wit the loaf in the background. - Hostess At Heart

Tips for making homemade Cuban Bread successfully.

  • Allow the melted lard to cool before adding it to the yeast mixture. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast.
  • This bread barely fit in my oven the first time I made it so now I make two loaves. Making two loaves also allows me to roll them into evenly sized loaves instead of a loaf with a large center and narrow ends. This Italian Bread video shows the method I use to shape them.
    • Don’t overwork the dough or try and use up the remaining flour. You’ll have a tough and chewy loaf.
  • The temperature of your kitchen can have a big impact on the rising process, so keep an eye on your dough and adjust accordingly. Once your dough has risen enough, you’ll be ready to shape it and bake it to perfection.
    • To create a warm place to proof the dough, you can preheat your oven to 160ºF and then turn the oven off.
    • Cover it so it doesn’t develop a crust on the dough. Dust the top of the dough with flour and cover it lightly with a towel or plastic wrap.
  • The recipe also instructs to brush the bread dough with water. I found spritzing it with a spray bottle worked better. Be careful not to spray the glass in the door of your oven. It could cause the glass to shatter. You can cover it with a dish towel as a precaution.
  • Don’t overbake the loaf. Since oven temperatures vary, start watching it at the minimum cook time. Once it is lightly browned, remove it from the oven.
A loaf of sliced bread sitting in front of an uncut loaf of homemade bread - Hostess At Heart

Serving suggestions

One classic way to enjoy Cuban bread is to make a Cuban sandwich. Slice the bread and layer it with ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. Then, press the sandwich in a panini press until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.

Another option is to simply toast slices of Cuban bread and serve them with butter or jam for breakfast. The slightly sweet flavor of the bread pairs perfectly with salty butter or tomato chutney.

If you have leftover Cuban bread, don’t let it go to waste! Use it to make croutons or breadcrumbs for topping casseroles or breading chicken or fish. Simply toast the bread and pulse it in a food processor until it becomes fine crumbs.

Finally, consider serving black bean soup or as a side to a plate of rice and beans. The soft, airy texture of the bread is the perfect complement to these hearty and flavorful dishes.

So, grab a warm slice of freshly baked Cuban bread and enjoy it however you like. And remember, the possibilities are endless!

I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe as much as we do. Drop me a comment below, and don’t forget to give it a star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. Your comments and ratings help others decide if this recipe is for them too.

Angled view of a Cuban baguette with two slices leaning on the loaf. Hostess At Heart

Cuban Bread Recipe – Pan Cubano

Author: Julie Menghini
Cuban bread or Pan Cubano, is a simple and delicious recipe that is easy to make at home.
4.70 from 10 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 8 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Cuban
Keyword: Cuban Bread, Cuban Sandwich, Cubano
Servings: 20

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • warm water (divided) no hotter than 110 °F
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour see instructions
  • 2 cups bread flour see instructions
  • 1/4 cup lard melted

Instructions
 

  • Grease a large bowl and set it aside.
  • Place the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the warm water in a small bowl. Set the bowl in a warm place until it bubbles or becomes foamy approximately 10 minutes.
  • Measure out the lard in a glass measuring cup and melt it in the microwave for 1 minute or until melted.
  • Place the yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the remaining warm water and the salt. Mix on low until combined.
  • In a large bowl, sift the two flour varieties together.
  • Add the melted lard alternating with the sifted flour. Use only enough of the mixed flour until the dough is pliable and smooth and pulls away from the side of the mixer. It will be sticky. The remaining flour will be used to roll out the dough.
  • Place the dough into the greased bowl, turning it until the dough is coated with grease on all sides. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Dust your working surface with flour. Turn the dough out and shape it into one 12×20-inch rectangle or two 6×10-inch rectangles. Dust the top with flour and roll the dough into a cylinder shape with a slight taper on both ends. Pinch the loose flap of the rolled dough into a loaf , making a tight seam.
  • Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough diagonally across the baking sheet or if making two loaves side by side. Dust the top with flour and cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap. Set it in a warm area and allow it to rise 2-1/2 times it's original size.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Place one baking rack in the center of the oven and place a pan of water on the lowest rack setting.
  • Score the loaf with a sharp knife down the center stopping within 2 inches of each end. Brush or spritz with water.
  • Place the loaf on the center rack in the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Brush or spritz the loaf with water and allow it to bake until lightly brown, 12 to 18 minutes total baking time.

Notes

Bread can be baked into one large loaf or two smaller loaves.
Watch baking time closely. Once the bread is lightly browned, it’s finished baking.
Recipe adapted from “Three Guys From Miami Cook Cuban.” Copyright ©2004 All Rights Reserved. Check out their website at: https://icuban.com/food https://icuban.com/food

Nutrition

Calories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 3gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gSodium: 117mgPotassium: 29mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 23IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

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4.70 from 10 votes (9 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




n

Sunday 9th of June 2024

so, when does the salt get added??

Julie Menghini

Monday 10th of June 2024

Thank you for your comment. The salt is added in Step 3 when you add the rest of the water.

Rebecca

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Easy to make and so good, I'll make this recipe again for sure.

Julie Menghini

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

Thank you! It's very easy to make.

Mandy

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

I adore your bread recipes so I decided to give this a try as well, and it is just as fabulous! Your detail instructions make it easy to follow and execute. THANK YOU!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

Thank you Mandy! I appreciate you stopping to let me know.

Lynn

Wednesday 21st of June 2023

Delicious!! Always down to try a new bread recipe I've never tried before. Thanks for a new one for our rotation.

Julie Menghini

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

I'm glad that you enjoyed it. It's become one of our favorite breads too.

Kathleen

Monday 19th of June 2023

Bread of any kind is my favorite and we loved this recipe, perfect for sandwiches!

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