Monday, July 24, 2006Bear Paw Bread
Bear Paw Bread Recipe
This pueblo (Bear Paw) bread originated in the Rio Grande area of New Mexico and has always been made in the shape of a bear's paw. It is crusty, easy to make, delicious to eat, and most impressive in appearance! This recipe can easily be halved; it can also be frozen, well wrapped, for up to three months.
2 cups hot water
2 teaspoons solid vegetable shortening, lard,
butter, or margarine
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages (about 2 tablespoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
Place the 2 cups of hot water, shortening, honey, and salt in a large bowl; stir to melt shortening.
Dissolve yeast in the warm water in a small bowl. When liquid in the large bowl has cooled to room temperature, stir in the yeast mixture. Add flour 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. After 8 cups have been added to the dough, place the remaining 2 cups on a board and turn out dough over flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly greased very large bowl, turning to grease top of dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Turn out on a floured board and knead again for about 3 minutes.
Grease 4 (9-inch) pie pans or 2 baking sheets. Divide dough in quarters and form each piece into a flat circle about 8 inches in diameter. Fold each circle almost in half, allowing the bottom to extend about an inch beyond the top. With a sharp knife, slash the dough twice, cutting through both layers of dough, about halfway back to the fold. This will form three separated sections - the bear's paw. Place each loaf in a greased pie plate, or on a baking sheet, curving the folded side in a crescent shape. Separate the slashes. cover loosely with a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place a shallow pan of hot water in the center of bottom rack of the oven. Place loaves on the top rack. Bake about 1 hour, or until lightly browned and bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Makes 4 loaves.
From our Native American recipe collection