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Cuban Sandwiches Hot & Cold

Updated on March 5, 2013

How To Make A Pressed Cuban Or A Cold Cuban

I've made a few thousand of these hot pressed Cuban Sandwiches in the Pizzaria Sub Shop, in Florida, where I worked. We were able to get some of the finest Cuban bread from Tampa, FL delivered to us. If you are familiar with Cuban bread then you know that most loaves are 3 -4 ft long and they are made with lard as one ingredient, then baked wrapped in palm leaves. This I know for a fact because some days I would have to pull some of the palm leaf off of the bread before I sliced to prepare a Cuban sub.

I would make 30 to 50 of them almost every day and they flew out of the door. Well in this lens I'm going to tell you how to make a really good Cuban the way we did and from the start I was told this is the way they should be made. So this is how it was done by me.

The photos in this lens are my own as I made my Cuban sandwich.

Pan Cubano Bread Cut In Half
Pan Cubano Bread Cut In Half

This recipe is posted to share by TASTEOFCUBA.COM

Pan Cubano - Authentic Cuban Bread recipe

courtesy of the Cocina Cubana Club founded by Pascual Perez & chef Sonia Martinez

Cuban bread is ideal for making Cuban sandwiches, especially Pan con Lechon(*) Fresh Cuban bread is also wonderful served with a small slab of guava paste or dollop of guava marmalade and cream cheese!

If you want to buy Cuban bread already baked, click here for the online store that sells traditional bread from La Rosa Bakery in Miami. As of yet, I'm not sure how to make it in a bread machine (a question I'm often asked).

Day-old Cuban bread makes the best bread puddings I've ever tasted! Or if you have some left over bread, the next day, slice it thin, spread a bit of butter and toast it!

The distinctive taste is due to the use of a starter, which is made the day before. Also the dough is enriched with lard. You can substitute the lard with solid vegetable shortening if you prefer, but the bread acquires its' basic smoothness through the addition of the lard.


3/4 tsp active dry yeast(1/3 envelope)

1/3 cup warm water

1/3 cup bread or all-purpose flour

The day before baking; mix the starter ingredients, dissolving the yeast in the water first. You want a thick paste when you add the flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let "ripen" in refrigerator for 24 hours. Leftover starter will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be frozen.


4-1/2 tsp active dry yeast - (2 envelopes or 2 cakes of compressed yeast)

1 Tbsp sugar

1-1/2 cups warm water

3 to 4 Tbsp lard or solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature

1/2 batch starter (see above recipe)

1 Tbsp salt

4 to 5 cups bread or all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 3 tablespoons of water in a large mixing bowl. When the mixture is foamy (5 to 10 minutes), stir in the lard, the remaining water, and the 1/2 batch of starter.

Mix well with your fingers or a wooden spoon. Stir in salt and flour, 1 cup at a time. You want to get a dough that is stiff enough to knead. You can also mix and knead in a mixer fitted with the dough hook or in a food processor fitted with the double blade, as the processor dough hook will not handle this job easily.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary. The dough should be pliable and not sticky.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles its' bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down.

To form the loaves, divide the dough in 4 pieces. Roll out each to form a 14-inch long tube, with rounded ends (sort of like a long meat loaf) Put 2 of the loaves on a baking sheet, about 6 inches apart. Cover with dampened cotton dish towels and let rise in warm, draft-free spot until double their bulk, about 1 hour. If you want to let it rise at a slower pace, you can do it in a cooler spot and even in the refrigerator, but give it 3 to 4 hours instead.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Lay a dampened piece of thick kitchen string or twine (about 1/8 " thick) all along the top length of the loaf. Bake until the breads are lightly browned on top and sound hollow when lightly tapped, about 30 minutes.

Let them cool slightly and remove the strings. They will leave a distinct little ridge on top. Transfer loaves onto a wire rack for cooling.

Cast your vote for Authentic Cuban Bread Recipe
Pork, ham, pickles, swiss cheese, mustard & Mayo
Pork, ham, pickles, swiss cheese, mustard & Mayo

How To Build A Great Cuban Sandwich Pressed

Take A 6" or 12" piece of Pan Cuban Bread and slice it in half, through the bread so you have two thin pieces of bread (top & bottom). Spread yellow mustard on the bottom half. Then spread mayonaise on the top half laying the bread pieces side by side.

If you are making the 12" sandwich lay 3 slices of ham down the bottom slice of bread.

On top of your ham next lay 3 or 4 slices (depending on size) of genoa salami along the bottom half of the bread.

Next lay enough Cuban pork on top of the salami to cover it all along your bottom half of the bread.

Your next layer will be 3 slices of swiss cheese to cover the Cuban Pork

I then lay a layer of thin slices dill pickle over the swiss cheese, about 4 large slices that are approx 1/8" thick.

Cover the bottom half with your meat, cheese, pickle layer with the top half of the bread that has been spread with mayonaise.

Place your Cuban sandwich on your Cuban Press and with a brush cover the top of your pressed Cuban with melted butter. Close the lid and press for approximately 3 - 5 minutes. Open lid and flip your cuban and brush the bottom with more butter, close the lid and continue to press your sandwich.

Your Cuban will toast to a light brown or whatever stage you would like it.

Or have your cuban cold and add your favorite vegetables.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cuban Sandwich Makings, stacked are Hispanic seasoned pork sliced, ham thin sliced, layer of sliced dill pickles, a layer of swiss cheese slices, mustard on one side and mayo on the other....cold or grilled hot.sliced 6" pan cubano breadfinished pressed Cuban Sandwich
Cuban Sandwich Makings, stacked are Hispanic seasoned pork sliced, ham thin sliced, layer of sliced dill pickles, a layer of swiss cheese slices, mustard on one side and mayo on the other....cold or grilled hot.
Cuban Sandwich Makings, stacked are Hispanic seasoned pork sliced, ham thin sliced, layer of sliced dill pickles, a layer of swiss cheese slices, mustard on one side and mayo on the other....cold or grilled hot.
sliced 6" pan cubano bread
sliced 6" pan cubano bread
finished pressed Cuban Sandwich
finished pressed Cuban Sandwich

Tools For The Job

I like my Cuban Sandwiches pressed with butter brushed over them before they are lightly browned.

Let's Press On And See What You Have To Say!

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Sounds delicious