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Bread for Cuban Sandwich

I'm getting things together for my attempt at true cubanos. Got the pork, but I'm having a problem with the bread. I know they say french if you can't find cuban, but I've also read that it is a major change. I read that cuban bread is sweet. Would I be better off using Kings Hawaiian sweet bread? I'm just damn set on doing this right.

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  1. I've never had a cuban sandwich with bread that sweet.

    1 Reply
    1. re: amkirkland

      The OP may be thinking of a medianoche, which uses a lighter, slightly sweet bread.

    2. I'd say a good baguette will do it or a french roll like a baguette. The crispness of the crust should make it taste good. I've had cuban sandwiches with soft spongy bread, just in fact had one at the Orlando airport in a cuban chain, are OK but not authentic like the ones I remember. Ham, cheese, pickles, mustard, mmm.

      1. I've never run across any other type of bread that is similar to Cuban... Cuban bread is made with lard (or sometimes vegetable shortening). It's about three feet long and is baked with a palm frond on the top to ensure that the crust breaks straight down the middle. It's soft and flat and gets very crunchy when pressed or toasted. Without cuban bread, you'll just have to accept a different sandwich. I'd say go for something soft and flat, so that you can, at least approximate the shape of the sandwich.

        1. I was in a similar predicament. DON'T go with a hard baguette or it will become inedible after toasting. I found a prepackaged soft Italian long roll, kinda flat (brand escapes me) and it toasted just fine. Didn't have the chewiness or brioche-ness of Cuban bread, but it wasn't a mouth shredder either. The key is to find a bread that's still soft and pliable, brush a cast iron skillet or grill with vegetable oil, and grill over low heat. If you can find a heavy lid that's smaller than the skillet that you can use to press the sandwiches, so much the better. Or get a brick and cover wtih aluminum foil. Good luck.

          1 Reply
          1. re: monkeyrotica

            You need a soft bread. The best product that can approximate cuban bread is some sort of soft hero bread.

          2. it's like a baguette but proofed like triple the time it comes out dry and stale almost. there are recipes online, b ut to buy it couldn't tell ya.
            try looking for "pan"

            2 Replies
            1. re: northernlite

              I've never had cuban bread that came out dry or stale. It's very, very soft--from the lard.

              1. re: butterfly

                Not the kind they have in Miami. Most of the lunch counters there serve something akin to baked styrofoam.

            2. a similar tasting, but not shaped, bread is the Mexican bolillo. This is the bread they make they're tortas from. It's not qyite as light, but it does have the lardiness to it.

              1. I don't know if you're in the New York City area, but many local bodegas carry the Cuban style bread. Just ask how fresh it is.

                1. ....just had a Portuguese sando made with their sweet bread--rather eggy and soft, very slightly sweet. (King's is not real Portuguese sweet bread.) It was great! don't dismiss it out of hand, but try to get the real thing if you want to experiment.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: toodie jane

                    sounds like medianoche bread--a different thing, but good in its own special way.

                  2. I made Cuban sandwiches this week from a recipe in the NY Times - on a baguette. It was french baguette, 1/2d, slathered with aoli, then layered with proscuitto, grated aged gouda, roast pork shoulder, pickled jalepenos. I put them in a hot pan with olive oil and a hot pan on top with a weight. They were a terrific texture, that is all I can say.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: emilief

                      I'm sure that was a good sandwich, but I think the NYT went too far in calling it a cuban... they only got one of the ingredients right (roast pork)! No jalapeƱos (pickles slices), no olive oil (butter), no alioli (mustard, maybe mayo), no gouda (swiss), proscuitto (usually regular ham, but who can really complain about proscuitto?)... Can you tell that I've lived with a displaced cubano for 13 years? I could dictate the proper sandwich mixto ingredients in my sleep!

                    2. What about ciabatta bread? Would that do?

                      1. BTW: Apparently the BEST place to get a cuban sandwich outside of Miami is in Union City NJ -- maybe you can get the bread there. (Not sure if there is any place in particular but they have a large cuban population)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: enjayare

                          Hey you are leaving out Tampa which maybe the home to the original Cuban sandwich. Yeah I know Miami and Tampa debate the origin. La Segunda Central Bakery in Tampa has some of the best Cuban bread around.

                          1. re: enjayare

                            Probably any cafeteria on Bergenline will have excellent cubanos.....but I like Gilberto's,
                            7616 Bergenline Ave North Bergen, NJ 07047-4958 - (201) 854-9876

                          2. i agree with the soft hero roll as subsitute for cuban bread, which is light, soft and petty non-descript. def. don't use king's hawaiian.