The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

German Foodie’s Whole Wheat “Cuban” Bread

GermanFoodie's picture

German Foodie’s Whole Wheat “Cuban” Bread

The following was a blog post this week on a whole wheat/whole grain version of a Cuban bread recipe I posted a while back. Enjoy!

When you have baked for a while, you will have the urge to tweak your recipes, to play with them. At least that is how it has always been for me. IF I am patient enough, I will make the original once, ultimately determine that this and this ought to be different, and I go for it.

As much as I love the Cuban bread recipe I posted a while back, I am also in general not a huge fan of white bread, no matter how addicting. And Cuban bread is one of the best sandwich breads I have had. Therefore I set out to “Germanize” it, if you can call it that, and add some whole grain aspects to it.

One thing to keep in mind is which kinds of ingredients will affect the hydration balance in the dough and which ones will simply add flavor and texture. Because the balance of ingredients is nowhere more crucial than in bread, one has to be able to fine-tune a dough when one “plays” with it. Adding whole wheat or rye flours will affect the hydration balance, as they soak up water in a different way than white bread flour. Further, their gluten content is different, so this will have an impact on the overall texture. On the other hand, seeds will affect the flavor and texture primarily.

This tweaked “Cuban” is not only STILL a great sandwich bread, but it will make a great and very healthy addition to your dinner table (Thanksgiving?), both as sliced bread or as rolls. In the Basic Cuban Bread recipe, I substituted 1/3 or 292 g of the bread flour for whole wheat flour, or a mix of equal parts whole wheat, dark rye, white rye and semolina. I also added 50 g each of pumpkin seeds, sesame, cracked wheat, steel-cut oats and rolled oats. This made the loaf more crumbly, but not by much.

Last but not least, a few people have been asking me how to best shape a baguette/French bread. The technique is pretty much the same, no matter what length. In order to force the dough into a French bread/batard shape, start with a boule, let it rest, shape it into a "torpedo" and then roll it into itself. Seal the seams. This will give you the same effect as an "envelope fold" would, but it is easier in my estimation, and more effective.

The most important thing is to let the dough rest between stages in order for the gluten to relax. When you have sealed the seams, begin rolling the loaf into a batard by elongating it towards the sides. It is easiest to do the final proof on a French loaf pan instead of a couche, if you want to avoid transferring the loaf (also, I am avoiding proofing anything containing traces of oil/fats or egg on baker's canvas).

German Foodie’s Whole Wheat “Cuban” Bread

584 g bread flour 292 g whole wheat flour 462 g water 92 g poolish 18 g yeast 16 g sugar 57 g lard or liquid shortening 18 g salt

50 g each of pumpkin seeds, sesame, cracked wheat, steel-cut oats, rolled oats

Prepare bread dough, let rise until doubled. Preheat oven to 400 F. Shape dough into two batards the length of a half sheet or French bread pan. Proof on pan, score straight down the middle. Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread’s interior is about 200 F; steaming at the beginning. Makes 2 loaves.

Download a printer-friendly recipe.

pmccool's picture

It sounds really good but it is definitely no longer Cuban bread.  Pain Cubano Allemande, perhaps?


GermanFoodie's picture

I should have named this post "name that bread". How about Fidel's German Country Bread? :)

hanseata's picture

always to smuggle in some whole grain flour.

If you exchange up to 10% white with whole grain flour you don't need more liquid. If you substitute more, you have to add 14 g/0.5 oz of water per every 56.5 g/2 oz of substituted whole grain.

Fröhliches Backen,



GermanFoodie's picture

I didn't add any additional water and the dough was just as pliable and tacky as w/o the whole wheat content. Possibly owing to the fact that this contains poolish?