In Mexico we celebrate November 2nd, Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead) with Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead). The custom is for people to setup altars to honor their loved ones. In these altars they make offerings including their favorite foods. One of these offerings is usually Pan de Muerto.
Although we had Pan de Muerto when we lived in Mexico City, it wasn't our family's tradition to setup altars or even bake it. We've decided to make it our family tradition to bake it.
I found an excellent recipe online at http://www.allrecipes.com/ that was posted by Lola. Thank you Lola! Your recipe is simple, easy to follow and delicious.
So after driving around Sandy's neighborhood thanks to a faulty GPS (grrrr....) I finally arrived at my destination. I started the dough at home since it needs to sit and rise for a while. And being that I'm more into cooking than photography, I naturally forgot to take photos of the initial steps. But trust me, it's easy! Here we go...
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
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
Heat the milk and the butter in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add the warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
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.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
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.
* This is when I hit the road from my place to Sandy's with "THE dough * Thanks to the GPS, I drove around in circles around her house for waaaay to long.
And that's where the next step came in handy :) ...
Punch the dough down...careful not to miss the dough...you don't want to hit the counter instead...trust me...ouch!
Shape the dough into a large round loaf with a round knob on top, for a traditional look. Or, shape into the desired shape of your choice like skulls...get creative!
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.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes.
Brush glaze over top of bread while still warm.
Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.
LISTO... BUEN PROVECHO!!!
The result was way better than I expected. We all enjoyed even, even mom and dad were raving. I hope you enjoy it as much. Hasta pronto.