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Hopi Piki Bread

Indiginous American bread made from Blue Corn.

The Hopi tribe makes a grayish-blue bread called piki. This interesting bread was made of blue corn and culinary ash. It is very dry, although it melts in the mouth. It is thin, almost transparent flat bread that is rolled into a cylinder. “The best is almost weightless.” Being of Armenian ancestry myself, I can best compare it to baked Phyllo dough as to its thickness and crispiness. I believe it is even thinner than phyllo.

The bread is an almost ceremonial bread and a staple of the Hopi tribe and adjoining tribes along a wide area. The rectangular stone it is cooked on is called a "piki stone", and is hand selected to last for a lifetime. The house the bread is made in is called a "piki house". Anything related to making the bread is called a "Piki (something)". Young Hopi girls are expected find, make and season a "piki stone" before they are married. The stone is seasoned with oily seeds such as pumpkin or gourd seeds and animal fats. The making of the bread is very ceremonial and a near religious experience. Making the bread is a day long process and only the deft of hand need participate.

This recipe is an authentic recipe. There are other "Piki" recipes out there that you can search on "Google". but I felt you should see how it is really made with no short cuts and extra ingredients to make the recipe work.


Adapted from a recipe by


Piki bread is on the list of endangered food traditions. The first step to making piki is to grind up the blue corn. Then, you must add the ashes and some water until it is smooth. Next, the Hopi people would layer the creamy mixture onto a hot rock. Then the bread looked almost overcooked, they would remove this thin sheet from the stone. They would repeat this six or seven times and then roll all the pieces together. Then, the delicate corn smell would gather nearby people it was so good. So you want to make Piki?: Here’s how you can: (copied from • 3 Tablespoon Chamisa Ash (Chamisa cooking ash results from the burning of various native plants) • 1/2 Cup Cold Water • 6 Cups Finely Ground Blue Cornmeal • 8 Cups Boiling Water • 6-8 Cups Cold Water


• Mix chamisa ash with 1/2 cup cold water and set aside • Put cornmeal in piki bowl, push 1/3 of the meal to the back of the bowl • Pour 4 cups boiling water into the 2/3 amount of cornmeal and stir until well blended • Add remaining boiling water and stir until moist and stiff • Gradually strain ash water through cheesecloth into the dough just until it turns blue • When dough has cooled enough to touch knead until smooth • Add the dry meal gradually • Set dough aside and build fire under the piki stone and allow to heat up • Meanwhile, gradually knead cold water into the dough until it is a thin consistency smooth batter, add more water during making process if necessary • Wipe off hot stone and oil with bone marrow or cooked brains, repeat as necessary during making process • Scoop small amount of batter from bowl with fingers and spread tissue paper thin across stone from left to right, eliminating any lumps • Dip fingers into batter again to cool them and bring out another scoop • Continue to spread and layer batter across stone until completely covered • When piki is done it will seperate from the stone, gently lift away and place it on the piki tray • The first piece should be fed to the fire • Spread more batter onto the stone and let cook, then place the prepared piki back onto the stone to soften • Fold two ends of the piki 1/4 way toward center, then gently roll piki away from you • Place back on Piki Tray • Remove Piki sheet from stone and spread with more batter to repeat process until all batter is used • If Piki tears simply return it to the batter to dissolve and reuse NOTE: ALTHOUGH NOT THE EXACT RECIPE PRESENTED, THESE VIDEOS BELOW MIGHT BE OF HELP TO YOU. U-TUBE VIDEO - HOW TO MAKE HOPI PIKI BREAD 1 U-TUBE VIDEO - HOW TO MAKE HOPI PIKI BREAD 2 U-TUBE VIDEO - HOW TO MAKE HOPI PIKI BREAD 3

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