Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pan de muertos and GREAT NEWS!

This post is long overdue. I made this bread for my "stepdaughters" for El Día de los Muertos around the beginning of November. I got the recipe from What's Cooking, which is full of authentic Mexican recipes and excellent photography.

This bread took a while to make because I was working on another culinary project concomitantly. The day I was finishing up on the preparation for this bread, I had to hurry with the photos because I needed to mail it off before the post office closed.

The huesos ("bones") or lágrimas ("tears"), which are the rolled ridges on top of the bread, lifted up while baking, and the balls on top of the bread shifted greatly on some of them. Nevertheless, they looked satisfactory.
They didn't look as perfect as Ben's from What's Cooking, but they were pretty good for my first (rushed) attempt.

Since I didn't get to eat the bread (I just ate a little abandoned ball), they told me that the bread tasted very good. I'm glad it didn't go bad during the days it spent in the box en route to California.

One of the ingredients in this bread is orange blossom water, which I had never heard of. It has a strange smell, and it supposedly tastes like licorice.
My first, published, night-time shot in my DIY lightbox. What do you think?

Ben says that a substitute for this water is anise seeds, which I also didn't have. So, I bought the orange blossom water at Whole Foods for around $3.50 (not a bad price for that expensive store).
Pan de muertos
by What's Cooking
  • 250 gr all-purpose flour
  • 50 gr sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (7 gr)
  • 75 gr butter, at room temperature
  • 2 TBSP orange blossom water (or anise seeds)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one lime and one orange
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
In the bowl of a stand-up mixer cream flour, sugar, yeast and butter at slow speed.
Add eggs one by one, milk, orange blossom, salt and zest. Turn speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rest for 1 hour in a warm place or until it doubles in size.
  • Punch the dough in the middle and turn over a floured surface. Divide in 7 equal parts. 6 of those parts will become your loaves and the last one will be used to make the decorations. Form the 6 loaves, place them on a greased baking sheet and let them double in size, covered.
    The bones and little balls to decorate the bread are placed on a plate, covered and put in the fridge to keep them firm and avoid they expand.

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C (about 355°F).
  • Decorate the bread and bake for about 20 minutes.
    It will be ready when it is golden brown in the outside.

  • In the meantime melt the 2 TBSP of butter in a small pot. As soon as the bread comes out of the oven brush melted butter and sprinkle sugar over them. You can also place the sugar on a flat plate and roll the loaves in it.

I was one of three winners of a red Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on Pioneer Woman!!! I feel sort of bad, though, since I already have a stand mixer. I originally entered the contest to win her cookbook, but I'm very happy I have won a stand mixer. What should I do with this new stand mixer? Should I keep it or give it away to a relative? My mom wants it, but she doesn't like to cook and is in inept in the kitchen. I secretly want to keep it, though, but that sounds greedy to me. I guess I'll keep it for awhile and then give it away to someone deserving hehe.

Wow. First, I mustered up the courage to talk to a potential dissertation committee member. Next, I won a blogger award. Then, I won a stand mixer, and then my youngest "stepdaughter" told me that she won a best reader award! It's been a long time since I've had such a great week. Thank you, Lord. Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. Aww, that's just fantastic, Memoria! Congrats on everything! They keep getting better :) The pan de muertos are just adorable. Love the ridges! You have a great weekend too.


  2. The bread is so fun! I'm sure they loved it!

    I say keep the mixer and have fun with it! It will always remind you that you won it from Pioneer Woman and bring you years of enjoyment and successful baking! You could ask your mom or a relative if they'd like your old one.

  3. Uau! Também fui uma das concorrentes no The Pioneer Woman! E mesmo agora fui saber o resultado do sorteio. Quando vi que eras uma das premiadas fiquei muito contente!
    Tinha que vir dar-te os parabéns! Parabéns pelo mixer da KitchenAid (ainda por cima vermelho, lindo, lindo!) e parabéns pela semana maravilhosa!
    Fico muito feliz!

    Aproveito para agradecer o prémio (your blog is over the top)! Fiquei muito contente por te lembrares de mim!

    Mais ainda, acho o máximo poder escrever-te em português!

    Muitos beijinhos,

  4. Ju - Thanks for the sweet wishes! Take care.

    Federica - Grazie mille!

    Barbara - It looks fun, but it wasn't always fun to make because of my other projects haha. Next time, I will work on only this bread so I can enjoy it more because I love working with yeast bread. Thanks for the advice on the mixer. I do think I'll keep it for now. I can't give the first one away because my mom gave it to me for Christmas last year, so it'll always be special.

    Marina - Awww, você pensou em mim!!!! Você é tão simpática! Sim, o mixer é muito lindo, não é. Muito obrigada, Marina. Você merece o prémio, de verdade.

    Eu não escrevo perfeitamente em português mas eu tento fazê-lo!


  5. Hi, Mem

    Your pan de muerto looks great! It is so sweet that you sent a "care package" to your stepdaughters and that one of them won a best reader award (I know how diligent you have been in helping her with her reading).

    Congratulations on your winning streak! You deserve all the positive accolades you have received :o)

    As far as that new Kitchenaid you won, you can go ahead and give that to your mama--she may not be the best cook in the world, but as they say, "If you build it, they will come." Ergo, if you give the mixer to your mama, she may just start using it! Give it a try--you never know! I might be able to cook up a "mess of sumtin'" that will be safe to eat and enjoyable at the same time :o)

    Love you!

  6. wow congrats on the win, i am envious, my wish list has kitchen aid at the top:) enjoy,

  7. Wow! Congratulations on everything. The KA, blogger award, your stepdaughter's award, and of course the courage to talk to a committee member. That last one sounds scary. It is so nice to have a fellow graduate student food blogger! When do you plan on graduating and what are your after graduation plans? I know those are both dreaded questions, but being another graduate student, I just have to ask! Btw...the bread looks delicious! I had a similar bread/cookie type thing in Peru. Delicious!

  8. Mom - You are soooo not going to get either of my KA mixers (wow! I really can say I have two stand mixers!). I know you won't start cooking based on receipt of a mixer; I just know it haha. I love you anyway!

    Nadia - See? This is why I feel bad for winning the mixer. I know that there are a lot of people who don't have one and really want one. I hope you win next time. Thanks for the kind wishes!

    Msmeanie - Thanks!! I don't know when I will be graduating. I'm still at the dissertation proposal stage. I'm hoping to finish within two semesters after this one, though...and maybe defend in the fall or spring of 2010/2011. I plan to apply for professorships after that. I'm studying Spanish and Portuguese Linguistics, so my choices are pretty limited to that profession. I know I could be a translator or work for the government, but I'm not interested in that. I really don't mind being a professor at a teacher's college as opposed to a research university because I'm not interested in dealing with the pressure to publish something every year. What about you?

  9. That is a great week! I love the look of the Pan de muertos and your photo in you lightbox (I still need to try and make one). Congrats on winner the KitchenAid!

  10. First of all, congratulation of your winning the mixer. Secondly, I'd really love to make this bread one day. So, I am bookmarking the recipe. Thank you.

  11. How lucky you are to have won that stand mixer! WOW!
    These look amazing and thanks for the info on the "snood" on my site...would have never known that!

  12. Anita - Thanks for the nice comments!

    Elra - Thanks!! I hope you do make it. I am looking forward to seeing your photos of them. I know they will be awesome!

    Cookies and cups - Thank you and you're welcome! :D

  13. Wow! A stand mixer. I would be choosy as to I give to, as well. These buns are very interesting. I'll have to give them a try.

  14. You did a great job on the pan de muerto! I don't know why but I only had trouble with one top ball shifting in one of my breads. This was also my first time. Maybe it was that I spent hours making them that day. I wanted them to be perfect. :-p Yours look amazing, too. And congrats on winning the mixer. I've wanted one for years, maybe I'll get myself one for xmas.

  15. Congrats! How awesome is that? Play the lotto girl! :)

    Btw, I think you should keep the new one and give your older one away! It's win-win!

  16. The bread looks amazing and way to go on the awards and mixer!!


  17. I saw on PW's site last week that you'd won the mixer! That's fantastic. I think if it were me, I'd keep the new mixer and give away my old one. :) Assuming that your old one is higher quality of course.

  18. congratulations on so many wonderful things happening! I'd like to give you a big hug, now perhaps in memory rather than of the celebratory moment of last week =)

    MM...Decorate the stand mixer? I've never seen anybody try and do something funky with a stand mixer before. it's always really colourful kitchen utensils and the like, but none for decoration of mixers. haha.

    "Pimp My Mix!"


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