Recently, when I was asking friends and family how they felt about the sandwich Cubano, I was surprised at how many said they preferred medianoches. Similar to the Cubano but smaller and sweeter, the medianoche or “midnight” sandwich was sold in Havana nightclubs to tired dancers at late night cafes. Also tired from my last miss at making a pan de agua loaf, I decided to medianoche bread instead. If you live in South Florida, making Cuban bread at home makes as much sense as churning your own butter. It’s as easy to find there as it’s impossible everywhere else, so I was excited to see this recipe for the challah-like bread on the Three Guys From Miami site. I spent all day fussing over the rolls like a nervous mother – will the yeast bubble, do I knead more, will they rise? Read more
Posts tagged ‘Cuban Bread’
I made yet another attempt at producing Cuban pan de agua this morning with mixed results. If my last loaf went French, this one stopped by Italy came out a pan de ciabatta or ciabatta de agua. The barely there crust of Cuban bread still eludes me but the slightly sweet flavor and airy texture were much closer. When it rised up perfectly and plumped in the oven, I thought I finally had it but it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I am getting warmer and will be diving into the flour bag again. It’s hard to tell where my Cuban bread will go next. Greece? Morocco? Spain? I’ll find out soon enough.
I had planned on including a recipe for Cuban pan de agua, but my bread went French on me and not in a good way. It was my third attempt, and I thought I had finally found my mistake. Having misread the recipe before, I measured everything out carefully, kneaded it, let it rise, and shaped it before putting into a cold oven with boiling water. The result wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t Cuban. Instead of a barely golden, plump loaf it had the dark heavy crust of a disappointed baguette. A friend suggested that just like a French soufflé needs quiet, maybe Cuban bread needs shouting. I’ll have to try that the next time.
I was trying to solve my Cuban bread problem when I came across this article in The New York Times. Published in 1899, it’s a fascinating account by Dorothy Stanhope of turn-of-the-century Havana, a city finding it’s bearings after a long fought war of independence. Not surprisingly, she finds herself in a very different world:
In going to a strange country one does not as a rule think before-hand what he will eat while there. He assumes as a matter of course that he will live much as he does at home. To rid one’s mind of any idea of this kind, it is only necessary to visit Havana. Read more