We learned so many things about Ecuador. The kids loved the videos we watched about the Galapagos Islands, and they did a great job sketching some of the animals on the islands. We talked about the government system in Ecuador, which is a democracy like ours. And then we talked about the many different governments all over the world. The kids decided that a democracy was the best way to go. We watched a soccer match on YouTube, because soccer is their main sport. The kids filled in a map of South America and also colored a picture of the flag of the country. But the thing we all loved was making bread babies!
Bread babies are nothing more than homemade bread shaped into the form of a baby. But it is something that these people use to celebrate one of their major holidays, El Dia de los Difuntos - The Ecuadorian Day of the Ancestors. This is a day where they remember family members who have gone on before them. And to celebrate, families take a meal out to the grave yard to eat on top of the grave of their family member. Bread babies are one of the foods they take.
So of course, the kids and I HAD to make bread babies! We just LOVE cooking day when we are studying a new country! Here is the recipe:
1 Pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 C warm milk (115 degrees F)
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 C flour
1 tsp. salt
2 lg. eggs
1/2 C butter melted
Mix together the yeast, milk, and sugar and let stand for 10 min. until it is nice and bubbly. Add the salt, eggs, and melted butter and mix well. Add the flour, mix well, and knead in the bowl a few times. Lift the dough, pour a little oil in the bowl, and then roll the dough around to get it coated well in the oil. This keeps it from sticking to the bowl while rising. Let rise for about an hour or until double in size.
Once the dough is ready, punch it down. Divide it equally among your kiddos so no one's bread baby is bigger than the others and no one fights over the dough. Let everyone have fun shaping it into the shape of a baby. Encourage them to be CREATIVE with their babies! You can even tint some of the dough, if you like, to use for decorations on your baby. Also, you can add cream cheese, jelly, or jam in your dough for a treat when you eat it. All you do for that is flatten the dough, put your filling in the middle, and pull the dough up around it.
When everyone has their babies like they want them, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and bake them for about 15 min. or until golden brown. Once they are cooked, you can add more decorations with icing if you like.
Here is our fun day!
My gang getting their dough shaped.
My sweet Britches made her baby have pigtails in her hair. She added raisins for the eyes and buttons, and she put cream cheese and jelly in the body.
Little Man added raisins on the body of his, and put in cream cheese and jelly for the filling.
Little Sister decided to make an Angel baby, so hers has wings. She added jelly inside of each wing, and put raisins for the eyes, nose, and mouth. She had a blast with the sticky dough. She is my "messy" girl.
Even Baby Girl got to get in on this fun. She stuck raisins all in her dough and rolled it up in a ball. Of course, then she picked it up off the baking stone and reshaped and reshaped and reshaped it. She just had fun shaping it.
These are the finished Bread Babies. The ball on top of Little Sister's Angel is the halo. She said she needed that round circle thing on top of her head. We sat the babies aside to rise for about an hour.
While we waited on the finished babies, Baby Girl finished off her raisins.
This smelled sooooo good while it was baking. And when we pulled them out of the oven, this is what they looked like. Everybody got their own baby to eat, and that was lunch. Yes, that was all we had for lunch. But it was really delicious!
I have to say, after spending a week in Ecuador via the Internet, I really want to go visit that country. I want to walk through the Amazon Rainforest and see all the fabulous green everywhere. I wouldn't even care about the rain every day. I just want to GO! But then, at this point in my life, I'm ready to go anywhere and everywhere! And now that you know what Bread Babies are, go try them for yourself. Have some fun making these with your own kids. And then come back here and tell me all about the experience. You will love it, I promise!