...For much of history, bread has been baked in communal ovens. Some have slapped batter on a hot rock and rolled it up, and some have made exquisite artisan bread loaves, baking them in a horno, an outdoor oven. Bread spans cultures and every culinary tradition across the world has its own bread and its way of baking it.
...In the Southwest, the history of bread, both leavened and unleavened, is rich. The Native American tribes that have inhabited the Southwest, baked in the slow coals of open hearths or atop hot stones. In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced yeast and the technology of the horno, beehive-shaped oven, that they had taken from the Moors.
...A very important and aesthetic, culinary contribution to the Southwest, is the horno oven. One dough can be many different things according to how it is baked, a metaphor that can be applied to many things. Learning how to build an horno and bake in it, is the quality of the bread that comes out of it. Retaining the flavor of the wood used to heat the oven, the crust is crisp and golden, the inside still moist, the perfect loaf.
...Sage Sweetwater designed The Bread tarot card showing the old-day breadloaves fired in clay pots, and also Mother Clay tarot card showing the beehive ovens in Tarot by Sage, illustrated and designed from her novel BLUE CORN WOMAN.
Original Horno Adobe Oven Bread
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
5¾ cups sifted white flour 1¾ cups warm water
3 Tbsp. white sugar
4 Tbsp. melted butter or fat
Mix together the yeast, warm water, salt, sugar, and 1 cup of the flour; set aside in a warm place for 15-20 minutes. Stir in 2 more cups of flour and the melted shortening. Now stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible and then knead in the remainder. Continue kneading for an additional 5 minutes. Place the dough inside of a large well greased bowl and set aside in a warm place to rise, until doubled in size (about 1½ hours). Punch the dough down, divide in half, and place each half in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean cloth, and again set aside to rise until doubled in size (about ¾ hour). Carefully turn each loaf out onto a well greased baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with warm water. Close up the loaves inside the horno adobe oven and check after 45 minutes. Loaves are well browned and sound hollow when tapped with your fingers when done. If baking isn't finished, recheck every 15 minutes until the loaves are done.
YouTube Videos on Horno (Clay Oven) Building