SAN ANTONIO - SA Live's David Elder takes you inside Panifico Bake Shop for a look at their pan de muerto pastries celebrating Dia De Los Muertos for a new episode of Elder Eats.
What is Dia De Los Muertos and Pan De Muerto?
Day of the Dead Bread
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The Day of the dead bread called Pan de Muertos is prepared all around Mexico in the last days of October and the first days of November and is one of the elements used in the altars set to honor the souls during the Day of the dead celebrations. The bread symbolizes a fraternal offering to the souls.
Day of the Dead Bread History
Using bread as an offering for the souls is a Spanish tradition, the Spaniards used to take bread and wine to the cemeteries or churches on All Souls Day as an offering for their dead family members to let them know they remembered them and to ask them for their protection.
Special sweet breads called buñuelos and marzipan rolls known as huesos de santo, (saints' bones) are widely made around the Catholic holiday till today.
In Mexico the bread used for the Day of the Dead Altars is different in every region of the country, but there is one kind that can be found almost everywhere and was first made by Basque bakers somewhere around the 1940's and 1960's in Mexico City.
This sweet bread is round and has a ball and four to eight sticks made of dough on the top which resemble human bones; it's flavored with orange blossom water and covered with sugar or sesame seeds.
At the time the creation of this bread was widely criticized because its purposes were purely commercial nevertheless it was so successful it became part of the celebration and nowadays most of the people ignore its origin.
In Southern Mexico every region has its own bread for Day of the Dead and is not made in other parts of the country.
Different kinds of Pan de Muertos
There are places where the bread used as an offering is the common bread of the area while in others like Oaxaca common sweet bread is decorated with little marzipan's headssimulating a human body or like in Puebla where the regular bread is covered with red sugarfor the grownups altars and white sugar for the children offerings.
In other areas sweet bread is shaped like skeletons, skulls, animals, angels or flowers and decorated with seeds, sugar or colored icing.
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