With my eldest child about to get married and my youngest child well out of diapers (Thank the Lord!), I had thought I was all done making babies. But then Gretchen, the Bread Baking Babes' host kitchen for the month, introduced us to Tanta Wawas, Peruvian bread babies, our assignment for the month.
I was blessed to have Tanna, our founder, come bake with me. She happened to be in town and offered to come make babies with me. And it's a good thing she did, as they were a handful!
The recipe we were originally given made a massive amount of dough - way too much for my mixer, so it was all done by hand. The dough was very dry and shaggy and we ended up adding 300 ml of additional water, just to get all the flour absorbed and the dough in some sort of shape to knead.
Deciding on the right amount of yeast was a brain strain, as I don't stock fresh yeast. We finally agreed on an amount for the instant yeast and proceeded.
The kneading went on and on and on and never seemed to change the characteristic of the dough much. It stayed lumpy, hard, and dense. We let it rest and rise. When we returned, it was still lumpy, hard, and dense.
The shaping of the dough was daunting. We had seen pictures of beautiful, intricately crafted dough creations, but no instructions other than "shape." Tanna and I were not feeling overly creative, so we asked my husband for help. He may seem like a straightforward, no nonsense engineer type, but in preschool he got a ++ Smiley Face in play dough, so he was the man for the job.
After he'd crafted a fighter jet and a Wallace head (as in Wallace and Grommit), Tanna and I had enough confidence to attempt a fish, a camel, an octopus, and a gun totin' bandallero bambino.
We left the creations to rise for 3 hours (the just barely rose) and then popped them into the oven. The result? Hard to describe. Sweet....ish. Spicy.....sort of. Dry....but moist. And definitely moreish.
Gretchen retooled the recipe and came up with a moister version that is much smaller. You can check out her page for the new and improved version. I'll give you what I worked with. Just in case you've got a preschool class that needs a craft.
If you'd like to bake up some babies, you can earn a Bread Baking Buddy badge. Just send a link to your blog post to Gretchen by November 6th, and she'll send you a badge to proudly display on your website.
And be sure to see what all the other creative Babes did this month! (Links in the sidebar)
Tanta Wawa (Peruvian Bread Babies)
500g of whole wheat flour
2 kilos of bread flour
675g of sugar
125g of shortening
100g of fresh yeast (we used 38 g instant yeast)
25g of salt *note: Peruvian salt is powdery, so we ground it in a mortar and pestle
4 eggs at room temp
25g of ground cinnamon
5g of ground cloves
25g of sesame seeds
125g of butter
200 milliliters of milk
300 milliliters of water
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
4 egg yolks (for painting)
1. In a bowl, mix the flours, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and sesame seeds. Make a well in the center and add in the shortening, eggs, butter, milk, water and vanilla. Mix well then turn out and knead for 10-15 minutes. (Add extra water as necessary to moisten all the dry bits.) Cover and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
2. Divide dough into 8 portions of 500g each. Form them into ovals the size of your hand. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
3. Stretch each dough ball and shape as desired. Place them on baking sheets which have been greased and floured. Cover with plastic and let the dough babies grow to three times their size. (I left mine for 3 hours)
4. Preheat the oven to 180C (350 deg. F)
5. Brush the egg yolks over the dough babies. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes, till an instant read thermometer reads 190 deg. F.