#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cuban Sandwich Stuffed Cuban Bread
When I love a flavor combination, I sort of go crazy. For awhile, everything I made was flavored with chocolate and orange. Another time, I was in a caramel phase and everything was caramel. And now I’m in my Cuban Sandwich Period. In order to use up some jerk-marinated pork tenderloin I cooked last week, I made Cuban sandwiches on store-bought Cuban bread. They were pretty delicious, but since tenderloin isn’t the best cut of meat for Cuban sandwiches, I decided to make a stuffed version of Cuban sandwiches for #BreadBakers this month using mojo-braised pork shoulder. I like the bread recipe itself so much that I’m going to make a plain old loaf of Cuban bread in a few days. And then I’ll make more Cuban sandwiches. It’s a vicious cycle. But since this month’s theme is Stuffed Breads, hosted by me, I stuffed all the Cuban sandwich fixin’s into my loaf of Cuban bread before baking. Then, I let the loaves cool and then pressed them between two hot cast iron pans since it’s not a Cuban sandwich unless it’s pressed. I tried stuffing the loaves two ways. For one loaf, I used large pieces of all the ingredients as I would if I were making a regular Cuban Sandwich. I loved the texture and the pop of the pickles in the finished bread, but it was a pain to seal up. Plus, some of the pork shoulder poked through the bread. For the other three loaves, I chopped up all the fillings–pork shoulder, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles–and then scattered a liberal amount over Dijon mustard spread out on the dough. Here, take a peek: Then, all I had to do was roll them up sort of like cinnamon rolls, pinch and fold the ends using some water to make a tight seal and then turn them over again. These were much easier to work with than the first loaf I made with large pieces, but even though the flavor was there, I missed the texture of a “regular” Cuban sandwich. I just thought you should know so that when you make yours, you can decide which method you’d rather use. I made the first loaf sort of like a turnover and then had to figure out how to pinch and seal the slack dough. Rolling up chopped fillings was easier, but it’s a trade-off if one of your favorite things about a Cubano is the texture. If you’d like to do your own thing, here are the base recipes I worked from.
If you’d like to make your Cuban bread the way I did with stuffings and all, read on and then do read all the other talented Bread Bakers’ posts. Our round-up this month is twenty-five strong. Nice!
For the Cuban Bread
- 10 oz ( 1 1/4 cups) warm-ish water (body temperature)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 9 oz (about 2 cups) all purpose flour
- 9 oz (about 2 cups) bread flour
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) lard, melted
- 1 1/2-2 teaspoons kosher salt, (See Procedure)
For the Braised Pork
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, , smashed
- 1 pound pork shoulder, (pork butt)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 cup store-bought mojo sauce
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- juice of one juicy lime
- 1/2 yellow onion, , chopped
Other Cuban Fixin's
- Dijon mustard
- 4 slices ham
- 4 slices deli Swiss cheese
- 12 bread and butter pickles, (sweet "discs")
- 2 big spoonfuls, (it's really up to you) braised pork
To Press and Enjoy
- 2-3 Tablespoons softened butter
For the Cuban Bread
- Mix together the water sugar and yeast and pour into the bowl of your stand mixer. Let stand (ha!) ten minutes or so until somewhat foamy.
- Whisk the two flours together really well and sift once.
- With the mixer on low and with the dough hook attached, add about 1/2 cup of flour alternately with just a bit of the lard. Keep adding some flour and then some lard until all the lard is in the bowl and you've used about 3/4 of the flour (about 13-14 oz).
- What you're shooting for is a soft dough that sticks in the bottom of the bowl and barely clears the sides of the bowl when the mixer is on low speed. The dough will be very soft. If the dough is more like batter, add a bit more flour until you get it to a soft dough state.
- Knead on low speed for four minutes and that's all. We don't care about the windowpane test because we're looking for a very soft bread and we aren't that concerned with major gluten development. Reserve the extra flour.
- Oil your hands and form the soft dough into a smooth ball. Plop it back in the bowl, spray with pan spray, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Since we took great care not to add too much flour, this will only take about an hour.
- Use some of the reserved flour and sprinkle your work surface with it. Plop the dough out on the floured surface and cut into 4 equal pieces. My final dough weighed 26.6 ounces, so my pieces weighed just slightly more than 6.5 oz each.
- Cover three of the pieces of dough. Take the fourth and flour it all over. Don't go crazy; you just don't want the dough to stick.
- Roll out into a rough rectangle about 7"x10".
- Brush off any excess flour. Spread liberally with Dijon mustard leaving about an inch of space all the way around.
- Top the mustard evenly with a fourth of the filling mixture (See below) and roll up like you're making cinnamon rolls. Pinch the seam together really well and then fold up each end of the cylinder so nothing leaks out. Use some water to help you get the ends nice and sealed up.
- Turn the loaf over onto a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet, spray with pan spray and cover with plastic wrap.
- Repeat with the other three pieces of dough. This dough expands mightily during the second rise, so you may only want to bake 2 per sheet, and certainly no more than 3. Don't even try to put all four on one sheet. You've been warned.
- Let the loaves rise in a warm place until they're about 2 1/2 times their original size, about 45 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 450F and place your racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Put a pan of hot water on the lower rack making sure there's also enough room on that rack for one of your baking sheets. I used a 6" cake pan for my water so there would be room.
- Once the loaves are well risen and shockingly big, remove the plastic wrap. Brush the tops of the loaves with water and put your trays in the oven.
- Bake for ten minutes.
- Remove from the oven, brush the loaves with water again and put them back in, rotating the pans 180 degrees and switching racks.
- Bake another 6-8 minutes or until the loaves are an even medium golden brown and the internal temperature is 200F.
- Remove from the oven to cool completely.
For the Braised Pork*
- Rub the meat with salt, pepper and cumin.
- Pour the oil into your pressure cooker and let it get hot. Add the pepper flakes and garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and the garlic begins to turn golden.
- Add the meat to the pan and sear on all sides.
- Pour in the mojo sauce, juices and onion.
- Bring to a boil. Put the lid on your pressure cooker and then cook at high pressure for 30-45 minutes until the meat is falling-apart tender. Check after 30 and go from there.
- Let the meat cool in its cooking juices so it doesn't dry out and then refrigerate overnight. You will have lots of pork left over after making these sandwiches. Use it to make more sandwiches, add it to a Cuban-style hash, make carnitas or use your imagination to use up the leftovers.
To Make the Filling**
- Combine the ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and braised pork and coarsely chop, combining everything so all filling ingredients are evenly distributed.
To Press and Enjoy
- If you have a sandwich griddle--not a grill. Cuban sandwiches shouldn't have ridges or grill marks--use that. If you don't, use two cast iron frying pans.
- Heat both pans over medium to medium-low heat. If you get the pans too hot, your bread could char and that's no fun.
- While the pans are heating, spread the top of each loaf of bread with some of the softened butter. Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 200F to keep the sandwiches hot after pressing.
- When both pans are hot, brush butter in one of the pans and put the sandwich in on top.
- Press it down with the other hot pan--be careful and wear oven mitts--and let press/toast for about 3 minutes. Re-heat the top pan for a short while over high heat to recharge it, flip the sandwich and press again for another couple of minutes until both sides of the sandwich are flat, deeply golden brown and crisp. Keep warm while you press the rest.
*You can use Tyler's complete recipe, linked above in the post or you can just do what I did. I sort of followed his recipe and then took a couple of short cuts. I made mine in my pressure cooker in about 40 minutes. If you don't have a pressure cooker, use a slow cooker or Dutch oven and expect it to take a lot more times.
**If you decide not to chop your filling ingredients, layer them on half of the dough like you would make a "regular" sandwich, leaving an inch of space all around. Wet the plain edge and fold over the other side of the dough, pinching the seams well and trying to make as neat a package as you can. You will definitely have more filling in this style, but it will be a bit harder to deal with shaping. If you go this route, you will probably need to double the amounts of all the filling ingredients.
Now, feast your eyes, and get ready to bookmark these babies!
Stuffed Breads from the Bread Bakers
- Chocolate Caramel Stuffed Monkey Bread from Robin at A Shaggy Dough Story
- Cinnamon Roll Quickbread from Laura at Baking in Pyjamas
- Cream Pan – Japanese Custard Filled Buns from Shireen at Ruchik Randhap
- Figgy Olive Oil and Sesame Challah from Sarah at What Smells So Good?
- Jam filled Danish Pastries from Holly at A Baker’s House
- No-Knead Apricot Sweet Rolls from Renee at Magnolia Days
- Baked Peas Kachori from Shilpi at SimplyVeggies
- Cauliflower, Paneer & Peas Stromboli from Priya at I Camp in my Kitchen
- Cheesy Bacon Stuffed Pretzel Buns from Allison at The PinterTest Kitchen
- Cheesy Pizza Wheels from Tara at Noshing with the Nolands
- Chicken Stuffed Casserole Bread from Lakshmi at Cooking Club
- Cuban Sandwich-Stuffed Cuban Bread from Jenni at Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online
- Gruyère Stuffed Crusty Loaves from Adam at Bakers and Best
- Jalapeno Cheddar Stuffed Pretzel Rolls from Heather at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
- Jamaican Meat Loaf from Kelly of Passion Kneaded
- Paneer Kulcha from Anshie at Spice Roots
- Prosciutto, Salami and Mozzarella Stromboli from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Russian Pirozhki from Mireille at Chef Mireille’s East West Realm
- Sri Lankan Seeni Sambol Buns from Pavani at Cook’s Hideout
- Stuffed Bazlama from Sneha at Sneha’s Recipe
- Stuffed Black Garlic Monkey Bread from Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Stuffed Pretzel Bites from Karen at Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Tiganopsomo – Feta-Stuffed Fried Bread from Stacy at Food Lust People Love
- Zucchini and Goat Cheese Stuffed Bread from Aisha at La cocina de Aisha
Thank you so much for taking the time to read today and for visiting all the Bread Bakers. We work hard to stretch ourselves and try out new ideas and recipes to share with you, and we truly hope you enjoy them. Take care, and have a lovely day.