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Miguel The Breadmader

(Page 2)

He uses simple tools to imprint designs. Applying the pasta on top of pan dulce. Jasmine pours the batter in paper cups for baking pancas.

Firing Up the Horno

Miguel displays his variety of shapes and styles.

When I make the dough for the first batch, I start the fire in the horno as it takes at least three hours for it to get really hot. The horno is made out of adobe (a mixture of water and soil and pine needles). A mold is formed out of wood, this adobe is poured into this oval structure mold and then partially dried in the sun for 15 days. After this we build on top of it three layers at a time, thus allowing the structure to gradually dry and form without caving inwards. We have to wait an entire month before using the horno. Since my father was also a pandero (breadmaker) he has helped with the construction of this horno.

The Baking Sheets Are Ready!
By 3:30 p.m. the masa is ready to bake. The masa is put onto long thin boards and lined up inthe horno. After I push the fire to one side, I first put in the pan dulce, taking only about 10 to 15 minutes to bake. I pull out the finished bread and slide the pieces off onto the table to cool, meanwhile I have Miguel Jr. replace the finished bread with the remaining masa of pan blanco and the muffins. This takes a little longer to bake, perhaps 20 minutes. The bread needs to cool for at least a half hour before Miguel Jr. helps me load up everything into "Laura". Laura is my red 1969 Volkswagon Van. She is old, but very reliable and everyone in Angangueo recognizes her for "my fresh, quality bread"! Around 5:30 p.m. I start my route in which I arrive to my regular customers. These are private homes and some restuarants. I honk my claxton (horn) and Miguel Jr. knocks on their door. My customers are welcome to enter the van and make their selections, usually purchasing 10 to 20 pansitos. When I turn Laura in for the night, I then look forward to relaxing by playing pool with close friends.

Discussion Questions:

  • How many "pansitos" does Miguel bake in a week? In a month? In a year (assume 12 months)?
  • If Miguel uses one bag of flour every 15 days, how many "pansitos" can he make with just one bag?
  • What difference in nutrients are there between pan (bread) and tortillas?

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