Beautifully Soft Cuban Bread, How to Make Pan Cubano

Cuban bread may look quite simple at first glance, but don’t let it deceive you. It has an amazingly soft texture and lovely flavour which is enhanced by the addition of lard.

Made using a preferment it has more character than your regular white loaf. It just goes to show that a few basic ingredients can create something awesome.

I only recently started using lard in breadmaking. Up until now I only considered store-bought lard which is flavourless most of the time. So, I decided to make my own by rendering down some smoked bacon lardons. It worked perfectly and it really makes the bread taste of porky goodness. If you don’t eat pork, then you can swap for any other fat you like.

Cuban bread is used in making the famous Cuban sandwich packed with pulled pork, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard mayo. The pork lard flavoured bread perfectly complements this combo. Super crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle it just melts in your mouth while having a nice crunch at the same time.

This recipe will be enough for two hungry mouths. To make more simply multiply the amount of ingredients and make more loaves.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the preferment

50g (1.75oz) white bread flour

50g (1.75oz) water

Tiny pinch of yeast


For the main dough –

200g (7.05oz) white bread flour

3g (0.1oz) instant dry yeast or 3.6g (0.12oz) active dry yeast or 9g (0.31oz) fresh yeast

5g (0.17oz) salt

25g (0.9oz) lard

10g (0.35oz) sugar

105g (3.7oz) cold water*

*To learn more about dough temperature when using a preferment click here.


  1. Make the preferment. In a bowl combine the water, pinch of yeast, and flour. Mix until there is no dry flour left. Cover and ferment for 10 – 14 hours.
  2. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the water, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix well to dissolve the salt & hydrate the yeast. Add the lard, preferment, and flour.
  3. Mix until there is no dry flour left. Tip the dough out on the table and knead it for 6 minutes. *Desired dough temperature 25C – 26C (77F – 79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  4. Cover and ferment for 1 hour.
  5. Fold.
  6. Ferment for 1 more hour.
  7. Dust the dough with flour, tip it out on the table and stretch it gently to a long rectangle shape. Roll it up and seal the seam. Flatten the loaf.
  8. Place the loaf on a non-stick paper lined tray. Cover and ferment for 1 – 1.5 hours or until doubled in volume. *During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 200C (390F) fan off.
  9. Dust the loaf with flour and score it with a razor blade or a knife.
  10. Bake for 20 – 23 minutes until golden brown all over.
  11. Leave to cool
  12. To make the sandwich cut the loaf in two and then slice in half. Spread mustard mayo, place Swiss cheese on both sides, top with smoked ham, pickles, and warm pulled pork. Brush the surface of the sandwich with more lard.
  13. Grill in a panini press for 3 – 4 minutes. You can also cook it in a pan, but then you need to press it down with something heavy. Preferably a preheated cast iron skillet.




Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

Watch the video here

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