Pan Chuta - Sweet Anise Bread From the Peruvian Andes

Large bread
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  • 2 hrs 25 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 3 medium or 2 large (6 servings)
Ratings (4)

Pan chuta is a unique bread from the Andean mountains near Cusco - one of many interesting regional Peruvian breads. Characterized by its sweet anise flavor and large disk-like shape, pan chuta comes from Oropesa ("la ciudad del pan," or city of bread), a pretty city with nearby valleys that are excellent for growing the wheat that the Spanish conquistadores needed for their bread. The region is rich in Incan tradition, and these large, flat, round ​breads have become an integral part of the culture of Oropesa and the surrounding areas. The breads are baked in traditional wood burning ovens with eucalyptus leaves, and often given as gifts.

These breads are typically decorated, usually with harvest/wheat designs, and then sold in bakeries and on the street, piled up into huge stacks. It's difficult to recreate the flavor of a pan chuta that has been baked in an Oropesa oven, but you can come close. These breads are beautiful and delicious, and really do make excellent gifts. This recipe makes 3 medium or 2 large chutas - keep one for yourself and give the rest away!

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons shortening (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon quick rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (for decoration)

How to Make It

  1. Place the all-purpose flour and bread flour in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the salt, cinnamon, anise seed, and sugar and mix well.
  2. Add the shortening, the vanilla and the egg to the flour mixture. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to the remaining ingredients. Mix well, then knead dough until very smooth and elastic, adding a bit more water if dough seems dry, or a bit more flour if dough is very sticky.
  1. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. (Dough can also be prepared in a bread machine, using the dough cycle, according to manufacturer's directions).
  2. Divide dough into 3 medium pieces (for 9-inch diameter breads) or into 2 equal pieces to make two larger (11 -inch) breads. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball, cover loosely, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle. Allow dough to rest for 5-10 minutes and then roll it into a slightly larger circle. Repeat several times until dough circles are about 10 inches in diameter (if making 3 smaller breads) or 12 inches in diameter (if make 2 larger breads).
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the dough circles on the baking sheets, and spray lightly with water. Let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until they have risen a bit.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly spray circles of dough with water, then sprinkle the tops of the breads with the wheat germ. Use a razor blade or sharp knife to "draw" patterns in the top of the bread, if desired.
  6. Place the bread in the oven, and spray once more with water. Bake the bread (in batches if necessary) for 20-25 minutes (turning the oven down to 350 F after 10 minutes), or until bread is dark golden brown and puffed up. (If you have a pizza stone, you can place the parchment paper directly onto the pizza stone for a crispier bottom crust.
  1. Remove breads from oven and let cool.