Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cuban Bread – Commence Operation Cubano Sandwich

I didn’t think I liked Cuban sandwiches, and even went so far as to publicly call them overrated, but it turns out I was eating them on the wrong bread. 

You can’t just use any old sandwich roll, and this fact was lost on me until I had one on the real deal. Shortly after finishing, I recanted every negative comment I’d previously made.

By the way, if you’ve never heard of a Cuban sandwich, stay tuned, because that will be the star of our next video. If you want to get a head start, besides practicing the bread, you’ll need some type of roasted, or pulled pork; and I’m happy to report we have many recipes that would work, including our famous paper pork, pulled pork, or carnitas.

One thing that makes this bread unique, besides the addition of lard, is the double-hit of yeast. We use dry yeast to start the dough, as usual, but also add a starter that we let ferment overnight. I assume that’s to provide a little extra flavor, as well as a some additional lift, but I didn’t want to do too much research, since I do enjoy a little mystery with these types of things.

Traditionally, some of the starter is saved, with a little fresh water and flour added, and kept in the fridge to make more bread. Not a bad idea, otherwise you can probably just add all of it to the dough. You’ll probably need a bit more flour, but as I stressed in the video, we’re going to be feeling for that anyway. So, stay tuned for the Cubano sandwich video, and in the meantime, I really hope you give this bread a try soon. Enjoy!


For the starter:
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
- mix well and refrigerate overnight

For the dough:
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup warm water
- mix and let stand 15 minutes
- add starter from day before (reserve 1/4 cup if you want to keep your starter going), plus:
3 tablespoons lard
2 teaspoons fine salt
about 3 cups flour, or as needed (I used 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
and 1 1/2 cups bread flour)
water to spray tops of loaves

23 comments:

Jane Weller said...

Seriously, Chef John, you post a new recipe and you make me instantly hungry even when I'm already full after dinner. ;)
All I have is instant active dry yeast that don't need to be activated. Is it alright to use them in this recipe the same way as active dry yeast?

Will Atkinson said...

Great video, and I'm looking forward to part two!

Mitchell Mayo said...

Could you substitute bacon grease for lard? or would it affect the flavor too much?

Aristocob said...

Looks delicious! Chef John, how does this bread differ from the bread used for banh mi?

Shimrra said...

Thanks for this recipe, looks delicious. I can imagine it also works well as a side bread for parties.
One question: Do you know if this also works with other flour, like rye or spelt?

Corn Floats said...

I take it that actual sourdough starter is incorrect?

Selenia Rivas-Sharma said...

can I use instant yeast or does it HAVE TO BE ACTIVE?

Jason Smith said...

CJ, Williams-Sonoma?

WenDee said...

What was the name of the non-stick pans you were using?? Thanks

Aristocob said...

Looks really good, CJ. How does this bread compare to the bread used for Bánh mì? Scott

Alessandro Mochi said...

There are many kinds of yeast, and you say "one package". How many grams does each of your packages have?

Janet Alvarez said...

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fascion said...

I was already planning on doing cubans the following day when this video went up. As one of my favorite sammiches of all time, I am ashamed to say I've never actually had it on real cuban bread before. This was to be the case today as well, as I had planned to try it on some homemade rye. Then... the video went up. It was like a sign from the food Gods. Immediately I put together the starter and began making plans to wake up and get to work on a batch.

As I type this comment now I am busy enjoying the fruits of that labor... and I am impressed. What a disservice I have been doing to myself all these years in making it on kaisers and french loaves. The cruch that developed on the surface is unparalleled. Literally twice as crisp and break-aparty (in a good way) as anything else I have ever tried. I'm guessing that is thanks to the lard? Whatever. It's magical. Can't wait for the video on the cuban itself.

Thanks, Chef!

Penny Piemontese said...

My husband and I saw this last night and now he wants to have Cuban sandwiches this weekend. So, I'll be doing my starter tonight and making bread tomorrow. YUMMY!!

Rusty Grizwald said...

Chef John is the absolute 'Bono' of the 'Cubano' !!!

Adam said...

It has been pointed out to me that, for the last several months in your voice overs, you've been adding a '?' To every sentence...now it's all I hear every time I watch a new video.. watch some old videos the other day and you talk normal and not like a valley girl in them...

Beatriz Sandoval said...

Can you please show us how to make rolls like the ones from subway. The wheat rolls please. I love to make sandwiches and if I can learn how to make those rolls would be so amazing! Thanks chef John 😘

Joe Stella said...

I love you nakiri knife chef John, I would love to know which brand/blacksmith you went with. Thanks.

Carl John said...

This Cuban Bread looks real tasty, i wonder if it floats....

Mallory O'Connell said...

I made this! It's tasty but mine came out too dense and without the lightness and airiness it was supposed to have. I've only made bread a few times. Anyone with more experience have any idea what I might have done wrong? I waited to see if my second addition of yeast was alive. I did see a few small bubbles, but it was in no way as bubbly and foamy as the video. My dough did rise, though. Very well the first time, but when I let the loaves rise before baking they did not rise nearly as much. I'm planning to try again. Anything you think I should do differently?

J Chacko said...

Chef John, Thank you so much I have my dough rising as I type. How long will the starter keep in the fridge?

Angela Vergara said...

By 'Flour', did you use all purpse flour/plain four. Or some special type of flour?

I really want to try this. But im paranoid vuz the last time i tried making bread i made a brick

Thomas Smith said...

Id make it if there were directions for it. Only ingredients are listed.