Lifestyle Fashion

Baking Bread – Cuban Pan De Ajo (Cuban Garlic Bread)

Last week I went to Miami for the first time to sample and report on Miami’s vibrant food community. What I found was a food community filled with amazing exile stories, perilous ocean-crossing adventures, and wonderful snapshots of great Miami food, especially Cuban food. Along with my staff member, Emily, we especially fell in love with the smell, taste, texture, and serving methods of the Cuban bread.

Cuban sandwiches are world renowned and a staple in any Cuban restaurant. Emily thinks it’s the bread that makes the sandwich. That debate can go on forever. Today’s Cuban white bread is not at all complex, but quite simple. It has a different baking method and is made with different ingredients than French or Italian bread. The bread is baked in a cold oven over boiling water before it reaches the desired baking temperature. Cuban bread is then baked with a little lard or vegetable shortening. True Cuban bread is baked in long baguette-style loaves. It doesn’t have condoms so it won’t last long. After a few days, the bread becomes extremely hard. This bread is made to be enjoyed right away. The best way to use it besides a sandwich is to serve it for breakfast. In Cuban homes, the bread is toasted with butter and served with a hot cup of café con leche for breakfast.

This bread baking recipe is a great way to savor and enjoy Cuban bread. It’s easy to prepare and combines wonderful flavors to form a great showcase of Cuban food and culture.

Garlic Bread (Cuban Garlic Bread)

Serves 8-10

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons melted butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 loaf (2 feet) Cuban or French bread, cut into 1-inch-thick slices

1. Combine oil, butter, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Let this mixture sit for at least 15 minutes, so the flavors meld.

2. Preheat oven to 350*F.

3. Spread the garlic mixture on one side of each slice of bread.

4. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and bake for 6 to 10 minutes, until the butter has melted and the bread is golden brown.

Serve immediately.

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