Day of the Dead - What is that?

Day of the Dead – What is that?

Imagen del Pan de Muertos (day of the dead)

Day of the Dead- A celebration of loved ones who have passed on

The Day of the Dead, El día de los muertos, is one of Mexico’s most important holidays. It spans three days, from October 31 to November 2, and is a time to remember loved ones now gone. Families prepare favorite foods of the departed and picnic at their graves. They adorn the graves with marigolds, the traditional flower of the dead, and strew paths of petals to lead the spirits to their offerings, which, along with the delicious food, usually include salt and water, symbols of ongoing life. The people dance, sing, and share memories of their loved ones, welcoming their spirits, who are thought to return briefly to take part in the celebration. ~ From Day of the Dead, by Tony Johnston and Jeanette Winter
In honor of the upcoming Day of the Dead, we’d like to share this traditional recipe for Pan de Muerto, “Bread of the Dead” – this bread is often shaped into skulls or round loaves with strips of dough rolled out and attached to resemble bones…

Pan de Muerto, “Bread of the Dead”

  • 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 Directions
  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 (43 degrees C).
  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 (175 degrees C) 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.

Check out our other posts on Day of the Dead here for more valuable information and vocabulary!

A30_Tsitika / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND



1 thought on “Day of the Dead – What is that?”

  1. Pingback: Day of the Dead: An old tradition updated - Common Ground International

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