The recipe: Pan De Muertos
When you think of Mexico at Halloween time you probably think of dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. This holiday takes place between October 30th and November 2nd and is an opportunity for families to gather, remember and commemorate those who have passed away. The festivities include making gifts and enjoying the deceased persons favourite foods. Really, it sounds like a family reunion where you chat, laugh, reminisce and celebrate family members who have died.
Aside from the enjoying these foods, it is also tradition to make pan de muertos, bread of the dead. We've never made a yeast bread before, but many different types of loaves and quick breads - this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try one. We searched out a recipe and got to work.
Pan de Muertos
(adapted from All Recipes)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm milk
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp anise seed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp white sugar
2. Remove from heat once butter has melted, add warm water, the mixture should be about 110F.
3. In large bowl combine 1/2 cup flour, yeast, salt, anise seed, 1/4 cup sugar.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry.
5. Once combined, add beaten eggs and orange zest.
6. Add 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding flour until dough has formed and is soft.
7. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
8. Lightly grease large bowl with olive oil, place ball of dough inside greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, dry spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
9. After 1 hour, punch down ball of dough and place ball on parchment lined baking sheet.
10. Cut away a few pieces that can be shaped into bones and place on top of ball of dough.
11. Once decorated, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for another hour.
12. After the second rise, remove plastic wrap and place in 350F oven for about 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
13. To make glaze; combine orange juice, 1/4 sugar and zest in a small sauce pan, bring to boil, brush over top of still warm bread, sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar.
Yeast bread is a bit of a science experiment. How amazing was it for my daughter to watch the bread double in size! By far her favourite part of making this bread was using the pieces of dough to make bones. It's always fun to play with your food! When it was time to taste the bread, we sliced the bread and spread on some butter. Our bread was enjoyed with a cup of tea. We toasted a glass of tea in celebration and in memory of my mother, who passed away just over 3 years ago. This was a lovely way to enjoy some time baking with my child and reminisce about my mom.