This is my first Cuban recipe here on this blog – though not the first one that I’ve ever tried. There is not much I can tell you about the Cuban culinary culture but I was quite surprised that they make such whity-white bread there. I was imagining something more yellow, I mean, with corn. But Wikipedia claims this is the traditional Cuban bread made into long loaves for perfect Cuban sandwiches.
And ooops, seems like I accidentally left out that very ingredient which distinguishes Cuban bread from its French or Italian counterparts – some tablespoons of lard! Can’t say it drastically affected these loaves – though the crumb would definitely have been different.
Looks like my vegetarian soul just shuts all the unwanted ingredients out of my attention – I realized I left it out only when I started writing this post. So my version is thus both for vegetarians and those who try to cut on fat in their cooking.
And although you won’t be able to make the real Cuban sandwiches with these rolls rather than baguettes, I promise whatever shape they are, you will no doubt enjoy them. We didn’t mind at all.
I made my photos on two consecutive days so the cut version is in less bright colours as the day was pretty moody. The weather changes these days as it normally does in this very very early spring when you are not at all sure whether to call it winter or spring already.
Year ago – Spelt Sourdough Baguettes
2 years ago – Spring in St Petersburg. The Beginning (no recipe)
3 years ago – Lappeenranta in (Spring) Details (no recipe)
4 years ago – 2,800 km of Russia Seen from Above (no recipe)
5 years ago – What a Peach! Sunny Cake and a Zesty Cranberry Cake
6 years ago – Double Citrusy Heaven
Cuban Bread or Pan Cubano de Manteca adapted from karenskitchenstories.com will make four cute loaves with crunchy crust and soft but chewy crumb. Here are my remarks and changes to the original recipe which can be found along with all the essential information on the Karen’s Kitchen Stories website.
My changes: I didn’t use bread flour, just regular all purpose flour (not the super refined one though). Yes, absolutely forgot the melted lard (which I wouldn’t use anyway, I would normally substitute it with melted butter or sunflower oil). Made shorter logs (2) and rolls (2) with pointed ends. Mixed this bread by hand – not exactly for 15 minutes, probably, but definitely quite long for my usual lazy baking.
More remarks: Compared to the cute sandwich loaves baked by Karen, mine were smaller and the crumb was less dense and less homogeneous. Mind that this recipe calls for an overnight poolish as well, so plan ahead.
Result: Perfect breakfast bread. Do I need to add anything to that? Ok, it’s crusty and soft at the same time – just as we all like it! Made some (read: many) thick Russian buterbrod with cheese and some greens.
Not these greens though – they still have some time to live yet. Its is one of the frail parsley I planted back in late autumn. They have been pretty slow to grow but now the sun is making its magic.
You can actually feel how turbulently this bread spent its time in the oven:
These two are the closest I could get to the baguettes, haha 🙂 Well, to tel you the truth I did write the recipe down in my ‘shorthand’ (which quite often means leaving out some crucial ingredients or steps) and then ‘forgot’ about it for several weeks. So by the time I was actually making the bread, I couldn’t really recall which shape they should be. And I was to lazy to check again.
Did you notice these ‘holes’ in the top crust (bottom of this photo)? I find them lovely- whatever sign they might be of some particular technological gaff from my side 🙂
I seem to be mesmerized by these cracks. I know some will say it’s not a good sign when your bread makes these instead of a perfectly straight crack exactly where you slashed the dough… But you know what? Who cares – everybody eats!
And the last crack:
Looking for more Cuban bread experience? Try this Cuban sandwich bread which I baked several years ago, though I didn’t make any Cuban sandwiches with it :).