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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Cabrae

Bread Wars: Cuban Bread VS Puerto Rican Bread

Updated: Mar 13

I've been Puerto Rican for the last 26 years of living and never ONCE had I properly savored Puerto Rican Bread. Growing up in Miami, you become accustomed to Cuban bread and sunshine like one would be accustomed to pizza if they lived in New York. So, when I would visit the island in my youth, I'd steamroll over the differences and take it all for granted. After this past trip, I've taken a bigger interest in deep diving into my culture. Though both are thousands of miles away from my grasp as I write this, I think it is high time we spoke up about the differences between the two pansitos.

Cuban Bread

Ah, the name itself brings a smile to my face and makes my mouth water. Known for its soft, flakey nature, Cuban bread goes with everything from cafecitos to sandwiches to a snack on the way home. It's common for most to buy more than one if they are tasked by the family to bring some home for dinner, as one entire loaf has been known to vanish from the bakery to the house. Timing your bakery visit to get a fresh loaf from the oven can be tricky. But, once you've mastered the art, it can be the most rewarding sensation to feel that warm bread melt on your tongue. It takes more like a cracker than, let's say, french bread or even sliced bread. The flakey crust on top can get a bit hard if the bread isn't stored properly, so make sure to wrap that plastic bag tight. I would not recommend freezing this bread. It's not that kind of bread. If you are feeling a little on the fat-ass side, I'd recommend trying a tostada. Bread and butter melted together under the heat of a flat press. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

Puerto Rican Bread

Though similar in presentation, this is not the same kind of bread we were just talking about. Its crust holds together when you bite into it, the hint of sweetness hitting your tongue instantly. This bread can go with anything you think of. Because of its sweet nature, making a sandwich out of it gives it a different flavor and enhances the meat inside. The bread itself is fluffy and soft, making it the perfect thing to have with morning cafecitos. By itself it can be a bit addicting and has also been known to disappear when driving from the panaderia to the house. It gives more of an impression of Hawaiian bread than anything else. Sweet and soft.

Which is Better?

Because I spent my entire life munching on the loaves my family would bring home, I have more knowledge on Cuban bread than Puerto Rican Bread. Both make me want to devour them on the spot but can be used to different purposes. Puerto Rican Bread is, in my opinion, better for making sandwiches or dipping into some Nutella whereas Cuban Bread is better paired with butter and flattened into a tostada. Cuban Bread is 100% messier and seems to get harder quicker. Both of them should come with a warning label for addictiveness, because. in my opinion, they are equal but different. Just like the cultures that they hail from, they are both loved.

The next time you're in Miami, see if you can snag a loaf of Cuban Bread from the bakery. If you're looking for Puerto Rican Bread, you will have to take a trip to the island itself. I tried to get a loaf that claimed to be Puerto Rican Bread out here on the west coast. While it was tasty, it was a far cry from the real thing. All I can hope is that I'll be able to travel back and get some more soon.

Note: After writing this article, one of my sponsors informed me that there are two kinds of Puerto Rican bread; "pan de agua" y "pan sobao". The one described above is "pan sobao", while "pan de agua" apparently has more of a Cuban Bread texture. Clearly, I need to go back to the island ASAP and eat more bread!

Check out my first 24 hours in Puerto Rico and learn about what it has to offer.

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