Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pan de Muerto (Mexican Dead Bread)

6 c. unbleached flour, divided (2 c. & 4 c.)
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 tsp. anise seed
1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
1/2 c. 1% milk
1/2 c. warm water

4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tsp. orange zest

1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 TBS. orange zest

raw sugar

Combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large ceramic mixing bowl. Mix well with wooden spoon until combined. Make a well in the center.

In medium saucepan, heat the milk and the butter together until the butter is just melted. Remove from heat and stir in the warm water. The mixture should be 110 degrees F; stir to cool if necessary until desired temperature is reached.

Pour the warm milk mixture into the center of the dry ingredients, stirring well with wooden spoon to blend. Add the beaten eggs and orange zest, beating until well combined. Add 1 c. cup of flour, stirring to blend. Continue to add additional flour a cup at a time until soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic; adding more flour as necessary.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, flipping once to make sure all surfaces are greased. Cover with greased plastic wrap & cotton towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size; about 1-1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time, shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto greased baking sheet, loosely cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise again in warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake breads for about 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown & "hollow" sounding when thumped. Remove to wire racks and let cool slightly.

Combine all glaze ingredients in micro-proof measuring cup. Heat for 2 minutes, then stir. Heat an additional minute or two until all sugar is dissolved. Brush glaze over breads. Immediately sprinkle with raw sugar. Cool completely & allow glaze to harden before storing.

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