Pueblo Oven Bread Recipe

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.


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  1. Oh what good fun! Nice looking trip there CA! And that lady looks kinda like my abuelita!

  2. What a treat for us to see this in action! Nan seems like such an expert on this and I love her response to the lard question :)

  3. Hi Chris Ann, was good to hear from you. All I want to say about your blog is, I look terrible! lol just kidding, it was fun having you there with all the questions. Take care & happy baking……come bake & visit soon…..

  4. this is truly and exciting outing! I would love it!

  5. Chris Ann says:

    Lorraine & Elizabeth, & Big Boy’s Oven, thanks for visiting! and for your comments!

    Nan, I’m so glad you visited our blog!! I had a wonderful time visiting New Mexico!! Thank you for sharing your life and baking skills!! Very enjoyable! I hope we get a chance to visit again soon!! And, you look absolutely wonderful!

  6. Now this is how I’d love to spend my vacation! I’ll bet this was great fun. The oven is fabulous and the bread is great – the flower is impressive but that face has me laughing out loud!

  7. That is so cool. I wonder if the oven heated by wood tastes a bit different that the kind heated by gas. It’s a simple bread recipe. I might have to try it at home in a regular oven. I can get lard around here, but I’ve never bought any. I hear it makes great pie crust though, so maybe I’ll give it a go.

  8. Chris Ann says:

    I asked Nan that exact question. She explained that after the horno gets to the right temperature (about 500 degrees) that the gas is turned off. If it is a wood burning horno like Nan has at home, the wood and ashes are pulled out. It is the bricks that heat the oven and wet rags are pushed into holes in the oven to help brown the bread or control the temperature. Nan, if you read this, please add your expertise!!

  9. The only difference is, with a wood fire-the bread would have a smokey taste. And yes it does taste better. Can’t have a wood fire at the Hyatt, because of all the smoke, it would get in & on everything. Some people might not appreciate it.

  10. well this LoveFeast Table » Blog Archive » Pueblo Oven Bread Recipe superb.
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  11. CA & Nan, my wife and I are from northwestern NM and our families are very good friends with the Jemez and Santa Domingo Pueblos and do we love their bread. When the children were young we bought ten loaves a month and frozen what we didn’t eat and used it throughout the month. Nan, which Pueblo Village are you from. We’ve always wanted to eat the bread fresh out of the oven, but never have. I can only imagine the taste. My late mother use to make bread in an outdoor oven and it was sooooo good with beans or stew. There is a difference between wood cooked bread and meals vs gas cooked. Grew up on wood cooking stove. We will try the bread recipe. The trip sounds great!! Thanks!

  12. Nan,

    My 10 year old Fifth Grade son had to do a Project for Social Studies class on the Pueblo Indians. He choose to bake some Pueblo Oven Bread. Is it normal for the bread to have a harder outside, the bread to have a darker than white color on the inside? We used White Flour,Butter. The bread tastes great but is very time consuming in the rising process. Is this bread supposed to be on the heavy side instead of feeling lighter like normal White Bread? I will follow up, let you know how the class liked the bread. I have never made bread before with the exception of Banana, Pumpkin Breads from scratch. Do the Pueblos ever use anything to flavor breads such as Cheese or seasoning?

    Thanks Gina and Joshua Cherry

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