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Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe (Pan de Media Noche)

Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe is an easy soft and tender bread recipe that’s slightly sweet and eggy. Make your own Cuban Medianoche Bread and you’ll be enjoying your own classic Cubano Media Noche sandwich in no time.

Top down view of golden baked Medianoche Bread Rolls scattered over a serving platter onto parchment paper.

The very best Cubano Medianache sandwich that we’d ever had was while vacationing near Miami. We knew we had to try to recreate this sandwich recipe so when searching for a Medianoche Bread recipe I landed on a site by “Three Guys From Miami“. It’s very evident that they are passionate about their recipes and I learned a lot about the sandwich itself. Now I can honestly say that the best Medianoche sandwiches come from my kitchen and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

What does Medianoche mean?

Medianoche, pronounced median noche means midnight in Spanish. It is believed that the first medianoche was invented in Havana around the year 1900 by late-night workers. It’s also said that Cubans would stop for a Medianoche Sandwich after a long night of dancing.

What’s the difference between Pan Cubano and Medianoche Bread?

Classic Cubano 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. Medianoche rolls are soft Challah-like bread that’s slightly sweet like Hawaiian Bread Rolls. What makes Cuban Bread like our Pan Cubano and Medianoche Bread Rolls so special is that they use lard which produces delicious flavor and the perfect chew.

Just like my Cuban bread recipe, I turned to the Three Guys From Miami for my Media Noche Bread recipe. 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. I agree!

Medianoche Recipe Ingredients

Top down view of the ingredients used to make Medianoche Bread Rolls including flour, lard, sugar, eggs, yeast, and salt.
Medianoche Bread Ingredients

Active Dry Yeast – we use 2 packets. If you buy your yeast in a jar, measure out 2-1/4 teaspoons for each packet or 4-1/2 teaspoons total. If you weigh your ingredients you’ll need a total of 14 grams. Make sure your yeast hasn’t expired.

White Granulated Sugar –  adds a pleasant sweetness to the bread.

Water – warmed 98ºF to 110ºF which will help activate the yeast. I think of the temperature as comparable to bath water. You don’t want it to hot or it can kill the yeast.

Eggs – we use Grade A, large eggs for consistency in our baking. A higher number of eggs than most bread recipes gives this Cuban bread a soft texture and beautiful color.

Lard – is made from animal fat making Cuban bread soft and pillowy. Lard isn’t suitable for a vegetarian diet. Vegetable shortening can be substituted but it doesn’t have much flavor.

Bread Flour – creates a stronger dough that can be shaped. Bread flour also creates an airy chewy texture. You can substitute with all-purpose flour 1:1. The texture may be different but your bread rolls will still taste great.

Salt – Kosher salt for fine sea salt is what we recommend. Even though there isn’t a large amount of salt, the bread will be bland if it’s left out.

How to Make Pan Medianoche Roll Recipe

I’ve made this recipe using separate bowls of ingredients that are later combined together in an electric stand mixer. I now combine ingredients together in my mixer reducing the bowls and making cleanup a breeze.

1. Melt the lard and allow it to cool slightly.

2. Add the warm water, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and yeast to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

3. Add the beaten eggs and the rest of the sugar to the yeast mix. Slowly pour in the cooled melted lard while the mixer is on low speed.

4. Exchange the paddle attachment with the dough hook attachment and with the mixer on low speed, gradually add additional flour one cup at a time until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and knead for 5 minutes.

A mixing bowl filled with Cuban Bread dough before rising. Hostess At Heart
Place dough in a greased bowl for rising

5. Place the dough into a lighly greased bowl and cover it with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise until doubled.

6. Punch the bread dough down and divide and shape the rolls. Place them on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Recover and rise for 60 minutes.

7. Cut a shallow seam down the center of each roll and brush the top of the rolls with an egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. Remove the baked rolls and let them cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Hostess Tips for Perfect Cuban Medianoche Sandwich Bread

  • We often make 8 large oval-shaped sandwich rolls. You can make a smaller sandwich roll. Since the bread is dense, it’s filling so making 10 to 12 rolls are plenty big. I’ve also made round rolls which is quite easy.
  • We always make sure the yeast bubbles before proceeding with the recipe. It’s easier to start over if you have bad yeast.
  • We brush the tops of the rolls with a little melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven. It will keep the crust soft and give it an appetizing shine. 
  • For perfectly even-sized rolls, get the total weight of the dough and divide it by the number of rolls you want to make. 
Three golden browned baked Cuban Bread Rolls sitting on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store Homemade Medianoche Bread Rolls?

 Rolls should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days or can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or recloseable zip-top bag for up to 3 months. To thaw open the container and let the rolls thaw at room temperature. Thawing rolls without removing them can cause the crust to become soggy.

Serving Suggestions

Medianoche rolls would still make a delicious late-night snack after a night of dancing, but I usually enjoy these rolls when making the best Medianoche Cuban Sandwiches. They can also be served alongside your favorite Cuban Cuisine such as Red Beans and Rice or stuffed with Mojo Pork. If you made smaller rolls, you can serve them as sliders instead of using the traditional Hawaiian rolls.

We love both the Medianoche sandwich and a classic Cuban sandwich. They both combine layers of roast pork, swiss cheese, and dill pickles. The main difference is the bread. I encourage you to try them and let me know which one you like the most.

Top down view of several baked Medianoche bread rolls stacked together - Hostess At Heart

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.

Three golden brown Cuban Medianoche Rolls sitting on a cutting board - Hostess At Heart

Cuban Medianoche Bread Recipe

Author: Julie Menghini
Make our authentic Cuban Medianoche Bread recipe at home! This soft, slightly sweet egg bread is perfect for Cuban Medianoche sandwiches.
4.60 from 20 votes
Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 55 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Cuban
Keyword: Medianoche
Servings: 8 rolls

Ingredients
 
 

Egg wash

  • 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water whisked together until foamy

Instructions
 

  • In a medium sized bowl combine the yeast, warm water, and three tablespoons of sugar. Set aside until the yeast begins to bubble. If it doesn’t bubble, the yeast isn’t good and you need to start over.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the eggs, remaining sugar, and salt to the yeast/water mixture. Slowly pour in the melted lard whisking continuously to the yeast/water mixture.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixture, fitted with the dough hook attachment, pour in yeast/water mixture. Gradually add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. My recipe only took 5 cups of flour. It will depend on your air temperature and humidity on how many it takes for you.
  • Knead the mixture for an additional 5 minutes on a medium speed. The dough will be soft and pliable but not overly stiff or sticky.
  • Grease a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Add the dough turning once so both sides are greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 60 to 90 minutes, or until doubled.
  • Punch the dough down on a work surface. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 rolls. I actually weighed mine out so they were similar in size (approximately 5.7 oz each).
  • Roll to make cylinders about 5 inches long and 2-1/4 inches wide. Place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Cover with a clean damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
  • Using a sharp knife or a lame, cut a shallow seam down the middle of the top of the bread, leaving an inch or two uncut on each end of the roll. Brush the tops of the rolls liberally with the egg wash.
  • Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 35 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and take them off of the baking sheet immediately. Cool on a wire rack. While still warm, brush the tops with melted butter.
  • Store at room temperature in a covered container.

Notes

Recipes courtesy of the Three Guys From Miami from their book: “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: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 87gProtein: 14gFat: 3gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 616mgPotassium: 128mgFiber: 2gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 230IUVitamin C: 0.8mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 1.2mg

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!

They could have been made smaller, but John thought they were just the right size. Especially when he got half of mine! The Best Cuban Sandwich is amazing so get your baking stuff together!

Did you enjoy this recipe? Don’t forget to pin it for later and follow me on Pinterest for more delicious recipes like this one!

Front image for Pinterest of three golden brown rolls stacked together. Hostess At Heart

This recipe was originally shared in 2016 and has been updated to provide new images and additional details to help our readers make this recipe. No changes were made to the recipe.

Top view of a golden brown Medianoche roll sitting on a cooling rack over parchment paper.
4.60 from 20 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating




Nikki

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

I made these for my son's dinner party and served them with pulled pork for small sandwiches. They were so delicious.

Julie Menghini

Friday 16th of February 2024

What a great idea! Thank you, Nikki!

Kathleen

Monday 12th of February 2024

We hosted our dinner club last week, and the chosen cuisine was Cuban! YAY! I found your recipe and went all out making the rolls and sandwiches; both were fabulous!! I forgot how baking with lard can add such flavor!

Julie Menghini

Friday 16th of February 2024

That's my kind of party! Thank you, Kathleen!

Laura Ashley Johnson

Monday 12th of February 2024

This bread was absolutely delicious! It was tender on the inside with the perfect golden crust! We also made your sandwiches with them, and my whole family love them!

Lynn

Sunday 11th of February 2024

I wasn't familiar with Medianoche bread, but you are right! It is great for a Cubano sandwich. Thanks!

Marco

Sunday 11th of February 2024

Vorrei sapere se posso sostituire le uova con altro? Grazie

Julie Menghini

Sunday 11th of February 2024

You can substitute 3/4 cup of yogurt or silken tofu. I found this article which may help: https://www.kitchenaid.com/pinch-of-help/stand-mixers/egg-substitutes-for-baking.html

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