While both Miami and Tampa, Florida both claim to be the city of origin for the first loaf of Cuban bread in the United States, the first commercially baked Cuban loaves were made in a bakery in Ybor City, Florida. In the late 1890s, the bread originally sold for three to five cents in Ybor City, a Cuban community in Tampa Florida. Often, the bread was delivered to individual homes. Many of the homes had a nail driven by the door on which the bread delivery man could hang the day’s loaf.
Cuban Bread (Authentic Pan Cubano Recipe)
- Medium-Sized Bowl
- Electric Mixer
- Rolling Pin
- Baking Pan
- 1/2 cup Warm Water
- 1/2 teaspoon Yeast
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 3/4 cup Warm Water
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 package Instant Yeast
- 1 tbsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Lard
- 2 1/4 cups Flour
- 1 tbsp Cornmeal
- 1 pc Water in a spray bottle
- To create the starter, combine the warm water and the yeast.
- Set it aside for about 15 minutes and then check the bowl.
- The mixture should be foamy and bubbly. If it’s not, your yeast is not fresh, so try again with fresh yeast.
- If the yeast is alive, stir in the flour. Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and set it aside overnight.
- The next morning, the starter should be bubbly and slightly risen. Set it aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Use the remainder of the package of yeast and combine it in a clean bowl with the sugar.
- Stir in the warm water and let it sit for about 15 minutes to check the yeast for freshness. When the time has passed, the yeast mixture should be bubbly and foamy.
- Melt the lard and add it to the bowl, along with the salt and one cup of the flour.
- Mix it well to form a sticky, wet dough.
- Add the starter from last night along with another cup and a half of the flour.
- Stir well. The dough should start to form a ball. You should have about a half cup of flour left for kneading.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in some of the remaining flour.
- You should knead this dough for at least 20 minutes to get the texture right. If you don’t want to knead by hand, feel free to use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- When you are done kneading, the dough should be a ball that is smooth, shiny, and elastic.
- Coat a large mixing bowl with cooking oil and place the dough ball in the bowl, turning it to coat.
- Cover the dough ball with a clean dish towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for at least two hours or until it is doubled in size.
- Grease a large baking sheet with a rim and sprinkle cornmeal all over it.
- Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface.
- Divide the dough in half.
- Shape each half into a long rectangular loaf that is about a half-inch thick and twelve to eighteen inches long.
- You can use a rolling pin if you like. Roll the dough from the long side to form a very skinny, rolled loaf.
- Place the loaf on one of the prepared pans and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
- Cover the loaves with clean dish towels and allow them to rise for about 60 to 90 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut a slit in the top of the loaves by running a sharp knife or razor blade lengthwise down the loaf of bread.
- Lightly spray the loaves of bread with water.
- Place the loaves in the oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, misting every 10 minutes with water.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bread loaves to cool for about twenty minutes before slicing.
- Cuban bread dries out very quickly. If you can’t eat it all within a day, freeze the bread, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to a month.
April Freeman enjoys creating all kinds of recipes for her friends and family from her country kitchen in Middle Tennessee. She and her family raise beef cattle, chickens, and all sorts of fruits and veggies on their farm, and she specializes in featuring farm-fresh foods in the recipes that she creates and serves. April says that her slogan is “Are you hungry?” and she feels that one way of showing love and connecting with others is to serve delicious favorite foods to others. Her favorite thing to cook is pies of all kinds.