MEXICAN TRADITIONAL BREAD
I feel very blessed that I have good Mexican friends in England. They give color and joy to my life. They root me down, nourish me and unleash creativity and love from my heart. Viva Mexico!!! I have a very strong connection between remembering Mexico and bread, specially on this time of the year, that the weather gets colder and it invites for sweet bread and chocolatito (hot chocolate) mmm... I have a wonderful Mexican friend originally from Oaxaca, her name is Adriana and she uses her hands in wonderful ways, what she touches nourishes. Her hands and her heart activate wonderfully and create and create, and help to grow, and help to heal, and help to help. Here an example of what her hands have place themselves to do https://www.facebook.com/colibri.arts?fref=ts Anyways, she decided to place her hands this time to make Pan the Muerto and other Mexican traditional breads and encourage me to make a class to share them with other friends. A long day, but the results were delicious and the company and experience lovely. I would like to share the recipes here for everyone else that would like to enjoy making delicious breads.
PAN DE MUERTO
In the years living here in England I have passed through different recipes for Pan the Muerto or Bread of the Death but non of them like the recipe that have been shared with me from my ever gorgeous friend with whom I enjoy the art of baking bread the must, Monica, from http://monique-saboresdelalma.blogspot.co.uk/ Besides being simple, the bread comes soft, well balanced in taste, light and delicious. The times I have made it at home, will be gone next day. But this recipe is a family secret, was given to Monica by her mother, a wonderful lady who was a master in the art of baking, just like my friend. From observing and letting my hands guide me I have developed a recipe which consistency is not as light as my friend's one, but its density makes this bread closer to a more traditional way of baking it. I hope you will enjoy it.
First, make a mother dough by using:
100 gr. of strong bread white flour
50 ml. of hot water
75 ml of orange juice
25gr. of fresh yeast or 7gr. instant yeastLet the mixture rest for a minimum of 3 hours.
On a bowl put:
400 of strong bread white flour
125 gr. sugar
75 gr. butter
50 gr. vegetable fat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of baking powderwith your fingers dissolve the fats with the flour as if making crumbles.
On another bowl put:
1/2 lemon juice
1 spoon of orange blossomand mix well.
Add the wet ingredients to the mother dough and mix them. Then begin to add little by little the dry ingredients and mix them with a wooden spoon or one hand as you feel comfortable. This mixture is by itself very sticky, but you may add from the very beginning one or two handfuls of more flour, later on I wouldn't recommend it as it will only create a very dense, heavy bread.
You will need to work on the dough for around 10 to 15 minutes making short pauses in between to help the gluten do its job. I recommend to work on the dough in the same bowl, if it is plastic it is easier turn the bowl around while the other hand lifts the dough up in a fast movement. You will notice the the dough is getting ready when it is beginning to collect the sticky dough of the bowl's wall and also it looks as if it has little airy balls inside. The mixture will still feel sticky, but don't mind. wash your hands and with a knife clean the bowl as much a s you can. put a little bit of flour on a surface and just cover the dough to make it onto a ball and back into the bowl to let it rest for 1 hour or until has double its size.
It will be faster in a warm environment. In a cold environment put the dough near the heater or oven, it can even go inside the oven if you warm it in the highest for 3 minutes and then close.. just make sure to cover the dough with a clean pack or plate so that it does not become dry.
When the dough has rise double size. Punch it down, collect it well and out it on a surface with a little bit f flour. make the form circle and decorate with what will be the representation of the bones as in the pictures. Wash it very well with 1 egg and a little bit of milk and put it in the oven at a 140 degrees for around 40 to 1hour cooking
It has to look golden in color and firm. Take it out of the oven and wash it with plenty of melted butter, and cover it with as much sugar as you like (I like a lot). Instead of buying caster sugar, use normal sugar but ground it for a few seconds, so that still has its consistency but there will be lighter ones that will help the sugar to stick well to the walls of the bread.
I really hope you will enjoy it and that will be easy for you to make. It requires a lot of patience and to learn to feel the dough till the point it is ready!
The beautiful altar that my friend Adriana created as a surprice for me to honour my grand parents! Thank you Adrianita!