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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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.