For A Perfect Cuban Sandwich, The Bread Matters

The Cuban sandwich, suited just as well to a high-end bistro as a ball game, has an interesting origin story. According to NPR, the sandwich that consists of slices of seasoned roast pork and sweet ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and a bold mustard may have been made popular by the state of Florida, but its roots can be traced to, yes, Cuba. Barbara Cruz, a professor of social science education at the University of South Florida wrote in her book, "The Cuban Sandwich: A History In Layers" that the sandwich was brought to Florida, "by way of cigar workers going to Key West, then coming to Ybor City and Tampa."

But according to Thrillist, the Cuban sandwich is even older than that. They contend the sandwich's existence is largely thanks to the Taíno tribe in Cuba, but that they used fish and bird meat to fill their version. Today, the Cuban sandwich has made its way around the globe, and is so popular you can order one up at just about any delicatessen you step into. But when it comes to making a Cuban sandwich, perhaps the most important of the ingredients you'll reach for is the bread. 

Be authentic

According to Serious Eats, if you're going for something authentic, you need to use the right kind of bread. The site explains that this bread, known as Pan Cubano, is a long loaf that's made using lard. The lard keeps the bread soft on the inside but crisp on the outside. Kitchn shares the most important aspect of the bread is its soft interior because it has to have some give when you squeeze it. If you live in an area with lots of Latin bakeries, Serious Eats suggests you will have an easy time buying a loaf of this favored Cuban bread. 

However, if you can't locate any, Hostess At Heart suggests trying a Cuban Medianoche bread. And if you can't find this, never fear, as "white bread, ciabatta, focaccia, or anadama bread" are decent alternatives (via Foods Guy). Hostess At Heart says the one caveat when swapping out your Cuban bread for something more common is just that it not be too "crusty." It can even be slightly sweet; just make sure it's a long, submarine-style loaf.