Pan Cubano {Cuban Bread}

Today is the first in a three part series for my Food ‘n Flix recipe reveal (I'll share the movie & my inspiration at the final post).

I was faced with one of those moments where I wanted to create a recipe, but then I got all bogged down with authenticity and ended up with a spur of the moment cook-a-thon on a random Thursday.

Therefore, today I’m sharing the smashingly delicious Pan Cubano or Cuban Bread.

Visually, it looks like it looks a lot like grocery store French bread (which is pretty different from homemade French bread).

But it’s not.

Cuban bread has a slightly different method than other breads and uses a bit less flour.  The result is a flatter loaf, but one that this crusty on the outside, but so incredibly soft and tender on the inside.

It is perfect for sandwiches or just for snacking!

Pan Cubano {Cuban Bread}
Adapted from Three Guys from Miami

1 ¼ cups water (105-115 degrees F), divided
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
¼ cup bacon drippings or lard, melted

Stir together ¼ cup warm water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the remaining water and salt.

Fit the mixer with a paddle blade and turn to low.  Add the vital wheat gluten and 1 cup of flour, followed by about a third of the bacon drippings, mixing until combined.  Repeat, 1 cup of flour at a time, until 3 cups of flour and all of the bacon drippings have been added. 

Switch to the dough hook.  Very slowly add the remaining ¼ cup flour, only adding enough that the dough just barely stops sticking to the sides of the bowl, the dough will still be rather sticky.

Knead on low with the dough hook for 4 minutes.  The dough will be very soft and tacky (and may still be the littlest bit sticky).  Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray.  Place the dough inside, flip and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in a warm, draft free area (I use the proof function on my oven) until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough.  Sprinkle the work surface liberally with flour.  Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12x20 inches in size.  Starting on a long size, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.  Pinch all of the seams tightly, tucking the ends slightly and pinching them underneath.  Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal.  Place the loaf, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Place in a warm draft free area until the dough is doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Once the loaf has risen, take a sharp knife and slice the loaf across the top (leaving some space on either end.)  Brush the loaf lightly with water.

Quickly open the oven and place the loaf on a middle rack, splash a cup of cold water onto the bottom of the oven and close the door quickly to trap the steam. 

Bake the loaf for 5 minutes.  Next, rotate the plan, brush the loaf with more water and splash another cup of water into the bottom of the oven to create more steam.  Bake for an additional 7 minutes or until the loaf is lightly brown and crusty.  Total baking time will be 12-18 minutes.

Cool completely before slicing.


  1. this bread looks incredible! love the texture!

  2. OMG! I am impressed. I love the look of the bread.

  3. This would make great sandwiches? What is vital wheat gluten and where do you find it?

    1. Hi Karen! It makes fantastic sandwiches! Vital Wheat Gluten is extra gluten for the bread (make it extra soft). It can be found in the baking aisle, usually on the top shelf by the specialty flours. If you can't find it, you could substitute bread flour for the all purpose flour. Good Luck!


Post a Comment

Please comment! I would love to hear from you!