October 15, 2008

T'anta Wawas*

this is the bread baking portion of the T'anta Wawas baking project i've been working on for snippets. like i mentioned before T'anta Wawas are an Andean traditional Day of the Dead bread. they are left as offerings to the dead in cemeteries and enjoyed by living participants during the Dia de los Muertos celebrations. T'anta Wawas are special breads baked into the shapes of children or pets. They are similar to the Pan de Muerto traditions of Mexico. the bread are often baked with plaster face masks very similar to babydoll faces. i was very interested in trying to make my own T'anta Wawas. i mean how could i resist, it's craft + baking all rolled up into one delicious project. here are a few visual examples of traditional T'anta Wawas of Peru.

i made my own face masks from a flour based clay days before starting the bread portion of this project. you may find my tutorial here. now this was my first try at yeast bread baking. to my surprise it was quite simple. i've always avoided recipes that called for yeast, fear of the unknown i suppose. i basically followed this recipe for Pan de Muerto, but doubled the portions. i also added one tablespoon of vanilla to the milk mixture + a generous amount of cinnamon to the flour mixture. instead of forming the dough into traditional cross-bone loaves, i made simplistic baby forms. below are a few sketches i made from traditional examples i found online.

since this was my first attempt at yeast bread baking i found a few helpful tips online as well. this tutorial from chanit in israel was a big help. it's not for Tanta Wawas, but it gives good visual examples of creative bread shaping. this post on "the fundamentals of making yeast bread" was also a huge help. i should have taken photos of my bread baby making endeavors, i just got to involved. basically i just made it up as i went along. one helpful tip i found was, to divide your dough with a sharp knife or dough cutter, instead of trying to pull it apart. also, be sure to prick the dough with a fork in thick areas.

i brushed an egg wash on the finished bread babies + sprinkled them with a cinnamon/sugar mixture as well as colored sugar crystals. i'm really pleased with the results. they taste pretty good, too. i will definitely be making more of these in the future.

be sure to keep a look out for the Day of the Dead issue of snippets. you may find more of my T'anta Wawas photos here.

baby shapes sketches


finished T'anta Wawas

1 comment:

amanda button said...

Those are absolutely gorgeous!!! I love the masks baked into the bread!

I just found your blog and i am loving it! Great stuff :)