One week ago, I was looking at this lovely view. I was in New Mexico at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, on the Santa Ana Pueblo. It was the perfect day to hike, or swim, or sunbathe and read a book. It turned out to be the perfect day to bake Pueblo Oven Bread.
This is the perfect oven to bake this bread in. This is a horno. This one is heated by gas. When the oven has reached 500 degrees, the gas is turned off and the mud bricks of the horno bake the bread. It has holes in it, so you can view and control the baking process. Wet rags can close up the holes to create better browning. I learned all this from Nan, a member of the Santa Ana Pueblo, a very experienced bread baker and therefor the perfect teacher.
Nan and her family make this bread for their family members. She said it is often eaten on feast days and with red or green chili stew. Typically, Nan makes about 30 loaves from a 25 pound bag of flour in her horno at home, which is heated with wood. But, this day she made it with 11 hotel guests and one camera toting, picture snapping, question asking food blogger.
The guests gathered around Nan’s table and she began to teach them how to feel the consistency of the dough.
They added water and kneaded up their balls mixed with lard. Lard? What if you can’t get lard? Nan chuckled, and added, “well around here you can”.
Then, after everyone mixed their dough up, she gave each person a new dough to work with. This dough had already gone through the rising process and was ready to be shaped, into a traditional flouer and baked.
An artist named, John, created this non-traditional face.
The face shaped bread went into the oven.
And, came out looking like this.
This is the Pueblo Oven Bread Recipe used at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Hotel, checked and verified by the ladies of the village of the Santa Ana Pueblo, who would never need to follow a recipe card.
Pueblo Oven Bread
Approximately 9 cups of white flour
1 Package of Dry Yeast
2 Tablespoons of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Lard (you can substitute with butter)
2 Cups of Water
Soften and dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix lard, flour, salt and dissolved yeast in a large bowl. Add warm water a little at a time kneading and rolling to even out all ingredients. Let dough rise in bowl, covered with cloth. Set near warm place of approximately 5-6 hours. After dough has risen knead the dough and let rise once more for approximately 20-30 minutes. After the dough has risen a second time knead the dough for 2-3 more minutes. Shape into balls and other shapes and put in greased baking pans. Cover with a cloth and let rise one more time in a warm place. Bake in 400 degree oven 50-60 minutes or until tops are browned and loaves sound hallow when tapped.