Cuban bread trials
I've tried several recipes for Cuban bread and I don’t think I've been successful. I've tried recipes with and without a starter but it makes no difference. I end up with decent bread, but I don’t think it's Cuban bread. The problem is that I've never had the real thing, so I don’t know what I'm trying to end up with.
I've read many articles on the web about this bread and there seems to be a debate about whether Miami or Tampa is the epicenter. Each seems to claim to have the real thing. So who's right?
I baked a couple of batches last week, one with a starter and one without. I'm told that Cuban bread should have a thin crust and soft, light, open crumb. The crust on my bread was OK, but the crumb was too heavy in my opinion, with no large open pockets. I took a loaf from each batch to my favorite Latin American restaurant to let the owner/chef give me his opinion. He is originally from Argentina, but migrated to Miami where he was a chef for many years.
After hefting the loaves, he said they were too heavy to be Cuban bread. Then he took them back to the kitchen where he and his wife/cook sliced and ate some of each. After a few minutes, he returned with a slice and said, "This is not Cuban bread. It's good bread, but more like ciabatta."
So who has a good recipe for the real thing? I've considered traveling to Miami and Tampa to sample the bread, but that seems a bit extravagant. There has to be a better way.