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T'antawawa Breads - Andean Bread Babies


T'antawawa Breads - Andean Bread Babies


Marian Blazes
Wawas are traditional Andean bread figures, usually resembling babies. They are made from a sweet, brioche-like dough, and their unusual name comes from the Quechuan word "guagua," which means baby. Wawas are very similar to "pan de muerto" from Mexico. On Novemeber 1 (Día de los Muertos), families carry the breads to cemeteries and offer them to their deceased relatives. Wawas are also used to decorate the table during this time, and are given as gifts, especially to children. They are fun to make and take many forms, so creative interpretations are encouraged! Children will enjoy helping to make these.

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon powdered yeast
  • 1 egg yolk
  • raisins and sesame seeds for decoration


  1. Add the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cloves to the bowl of a standing mixer and mix briefly.

  2. Make a small well in the center of the flour, and add the water, milk, egg, butter, shortening, vanilla, and yeast.

  3. Knead, using dough hook attachment, for 5 to 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to the side of the bowl. If the dough appears dry or crumbly, add water, a teaspoon at a time, and knead until it's smooth. If the dough appears sticky, add small amounts of flour and knead, until dough is smooth and elastic.

  4. Place dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).

  5. Divide dough into four parts and shape each portion into a ball. Roll the balls of dough on the countertop until they are smooth. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Shape the dough: Pinch a small part of the ball of dough and shape it into a head (it should stay attached to the bigger piece). Press the dough onto a cookie sheet, flattening and shaping it as you go, so that it resembles a large circle topped with a small circle.

  7. Press a small round cookie cutter into the smaller circle of dough, to make the outline of the "face".

  8. Using scissors, snip pieces of dough partially off of the body, stretching and curling them decoratively, and press them back down into the dough.

  9. Using a skewer, poke two holes for eyes and fill each one with half of a raisin.

  10. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  11. Mix the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and paint breads with the egg wash - on the body and lightly around the face. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and serve.

Makes 4 wawas.

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