The day after Halloween is known as the Day of the Dead. A day for celebration of the lives of friends, family, loved ones, and even pets who have departed. A happy day with parties, festivals, concerts, art installations and of course, great food.
ERGO El Pan De Muerto. The bread of the Dead.
After all the dead too must have their daily bread. A light and sweet bread traditionally spiced with ground anise and brushed with an orange glaze topping.
An egg-y sweet bread that is shaped as a round loaf or smaller round rolls. Both decorated with bone shaped strips of dough to honor the celebration of those whom have passed on to the beyond.
In a small saucepan heat the milk, water, and butter together until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the mixture to roughly 80-90F.
In a large bowl, mix together 1 c flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and anise. Add the cooled milk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk until combined.
Add the remaining 2 c flour, ½ c at a time, stirring well after each addition, until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 5-7 minutes, adding flour as needed, until it is smooth, soft, and slightly tacky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover it with a damp tea towel and let is rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk, roughly 1 hour.
Once the dough has risen, turn it onto the counter and knead it a few times to deflate it. Cut 6, 1 oz, pieces (roughly the size of a golf ball) from the dough. Shape the larger portion of dough into a round loaf and place it on a lightly floured baking sheet. Shape each of the 6 smaller portions into a bone, by rolling them in the center to create two larger sections on each end of a smaller connecting strip. Arrange the bones on top of the round loaf. Cover the shaped loaf with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled, roughly 30 min.
During the last 10 minutes of rising time, preheat your oven to 350F.
Brush the dough lightly with 1 Tbsp milk and place it in the oven. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped.
While the bread is baking, make the glaze: Heat ¼ c sugar together with the zest and juice of one orange. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If necessary, strain the glaze of any orange pulp and set the strained glaze aside.
When the bread is done, brush the warm loaf with the glaze and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of sugar.
Let the bread cool slightly before slicing. Enjoy with your favorite coffee or hot Mexican Chocolate. Happy, Healthy Eating.