Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mexican Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerte)

Illustration by Coleen McIntyre
Day of the Dead Bread

Every year on the evening of November 1st, cemeteries all over Mexico are filled to the brim with families celebrating their loved ones that have passed away. Complete with music and food, the celebration feels more like a birthday party than a funeral. There is plenty to eat and drink with everyone contributing something that was meaningful to their loved one.

Bread of the Dead and Day of the Dead go hand-in-hand. Bakeries on every street corner sell the sweet, round bread in the days leading up to November 1stAvailable in many different sizes, there are most often small decorations baked into the bread in the shape of tear drops, hearts, flowers and bone shapes. These rolls are placed amongst the flowers and decorations, afterward eaten in the early morning hours as families prepare to go home. 

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white sugar


1.     Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F

2.     In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.

3.     Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

4.     Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

5.     Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.

6.     To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

Nicholas Beatty is a children's book writer and publisher. His projects explore multicultural themes allowing children to discover the world through whimsical folktales, recipes and activities. You'll find more recipes and writing about world culture in his children's cookbook, The Cultured Chef.

No comments:

Post a Comment