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Bread of the Dead

This slightly sweet bread, pan de muerto, celebrates November 2 as the Day of the Dead in Mexico

En español

Yields: 10–12 portions

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup warm water (110ºF)
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites and 3 egg yolks         
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Grated orange rind

Glaze

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar

Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon red colored sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange colored sugar

See also: More recipes from Hispanic cooking expert Denisse Oller.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

  2. In a medium-size pan, warm butter and milk until butter is melted. Remove from heat. Add warm water (110ºF) and yeast, and mix well.

  3. Pour mixture in a glass bowl. Add salt and sugar, and mix well. Add 1 cup of flour and mix until a uniform dough is obtained. Cover with aluminum foil and let rest for approximately 25 minutes in a warm place.

  4. Place dough in a mixing bowl and mix with a kneading paddle. Add egg whites and yolks, orange extract, vanilla extract and grated orange rind.

  5. Slowly add the remaining two cups of flour (1/2 cup at a time). The dough should be soft and form a ball that will separate from the sides of the mixing bowl.

  6. Place the dough in a slightly greased pan. Cover with plastic and let rest in a warm place for approximately 1–2 hours, until it doubles in size.

  7. Unwrap the dough. Punch it down to remove air and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Decorate it with Day of the Dead motifs, such as crossbones. Cover it again with plastic and let it rest for an additional hour or until it doubles in size.

  8. For the glaze, mix the egg yolks and sugar.

  9. Remove plastic cover and place dough in a baking pan. Brush dough with glaze. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle colored sugar on top, forming your favorite decorative design.

You may also like: 15 uses for stale bread.

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