Being a Spanish teacher, sometimes I have the opportunity to cook something for my students. Last week I promised my well-behaved classes that I would make them Pan de muerto in honor of Day of the Dead. Unfortunately I didn't realize until after the dough was supposed to rise that the yeast had expired in August. Being stubborn, I decide to go ahead with the recipe even though this dough hasn't risen in the slightest. So the bread came out badly and I told my students that we won't be having pan de muerto this year. If you want to attempt this, make sure you have fresh enough yeast. My house also tends to be too cold for the dough to rise correctly, so I may be avoiding baking bread until the more humid months (when nobody wants to be baking bread).
Pan de muerto (adapted from azcentral)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 egg separated
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sugar
- Boil milk and remove from heat.
- To milk add butter, sugar and salt.
- Mix yeast with water. Let stand until frothy. Add to milk.
- Separate egg, beat yolk and add to yeast.
- Add flour and blend to form a ball.
- On a floured pastry board knead dough until smooth and return to bowl.
- Cover bowl with a towel and let rise 90 minutes.
- Grease baking sheet and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Knead dough again and divide into fourths. Braid 3 parts pinching the ends to close. Form 2 bones with remaining dough and place over braid in a cross.
- Cover bread with towel and let rise 30 minutes. Mix cinnamon and sugar together. Brush braid with egg white (beaten) and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Bake 35 minutes.