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Chef John's Cuban Bread

Rated as 4.28 out of 5 Stars
64k

"I didn't think I liked Cuban sandwiches until I had one on real Cuban bread--what a difference! This bread uses lard and a double-hit of yeast plus a fermented starter. All this adds extra flavor and lift."
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Ingredients

12 h 15 m servings 169
Original recipe yields 12 servings (2 loaves)

Directions

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  1. Combine 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, and 1/2 cup flour in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk the starter until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place 1 package active dry yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour in 3/4 cup warm water. Let rest 15 minutes to ensure yeast is alive (bubbles will form on surface). Add lard and salt to bowl; add 1 cup of the flour. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and dough forms a sticky ball. Add the starter (reserving 1/4 cup if you want to keep the starter going, if desired. Otherwise add it all.). Sprinkle most of the rest of the flour on the dough, reserving 1/2 cup to be used if needed when kneading.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until dough comes together in a firm ball, adding additional flour only as needed. Dough should be soft and supple with just a bit of tackiness on the surface.
  4. Place dough in a bowl and coat surface with a little vegetable oil. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise. Let rise until at least doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  5. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle with a little cornmeal.
  6. Transfer dough onto lightly floured surface. Lightly press the dough into a rectangle with your lightly floured hands. Divide dough in half and press and shape each half into a long 1/2-inch thick rectangle about 12 inches long. Roll up tightly starting at the long end to form a skinny loaf. Flatten a bit. Transfer each loaf to a prepared baking sheet and dust with a bit of flour. Cover with a light, dry towel and let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut a 1/4-inch deep slit down the top of the loaves with a sharp knife or razor. Mist loaves lightly with water.
  8. Place pans in pre-heated oven, one pan on lower rack, one on higher rack. After 10 minutes, switch pan positions. Continue to bake until loaves are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer loaves to cooling rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing.

Footnotes

  • Chef's Note:
  • I used 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups bread flour.
  • Each loaf yields about 10 slices bread, or 2 Cuban sandwiches. Check out Chef John's Cuban Sandwich recipe.

Nutrition Facts


Per Serving: 169 calories; 3.6 29.4 4.1 3 389 Full nutrition

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Reviews

Read all reviews 26
  1. 29 Ratings

  2.  
    Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars
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    Rated as 4 out of 5 Stars
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    Rated as 3 out of 5 Stars
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    Rated as 2 out of 5 Stars
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    Rated as 1 out of 5 Stars
Most helpful positive review

I have made this bread 3 times this week. the first time was a disaster - probably due to my ineptitude - but the second time was perfect. Absolutely the best bread I have ever made. Soft, m...

Most helpful critical review

Followed the recipe with the note about using half regular flour, half bread flour. I really hoped this would be the one that would yield an authentic Cuban bread. Instead it came out more like ...

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I have made this bread 3 times this week. the first time was a disaster - probably due to my ineptitude - but the second time was perfect. Absolutely the best bread I have ever made. Soft, m...

This is pretty darn close to the bread from a Tampa Cuban bakery I used to frequent, just a few feet shorter and minus the palm leaf down the middle. Your home oven will not be wide enough for t...

I don't know how "authentically" Cuban it is because I have nothing to compare it to. Chef John said himself in the video that it would be as close as we could get to it. I DO know I love this...

I’m new to bread making. This bread was easy for me to make. It came out great. I made Cuban sandwiches with it. I made it again today. I think I like it better than the white bread I make.

Followed the recipe with the note about using half regular flour, half bread flour. I really hoped this would be the one that would yield an authentic Cuban bread. Instead it came out more like ...

This was my first attempt at making any type of bread, and it turned out great. I didn't flatten mine quite enough or pinch the seams closed so they weren't quite a pretty but from what I can ga...

Great for making Cuban sandwiches

So I had some trouble with part 2, I did not stir it after mixing the packet of yeast and water and when i came back 15mins later i saw no bubbles. Stirred it, came back 15mins later and still n...

Family favorite.