Since we are a pagan family Halloween/Samhain is a very big holiday for us. One of our new traditions that we thought would be fun with Xavier is to make the Bread of the Dead.
"This traditional Mexican sweet and spiced bread is prepared to represent the souls of the departed. They are shaped with forms of skulls or human figures and decorated with colored glazes or tinted sesame seeds, which represent happiness. The recipe makes two loaves" From the book Circle Round by Starhawk, Diane Baker and Anne Hill. If you are a pagan family and looking for ideas to celebrate including your children I highly recommend this book. It is full of lots of fun idea to celebrate Pagan holidays with your family. They have many ideas for each holiday!
I made the bread yesterday to enjoy today, but it is easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients in your home so you still have time if you would like to make it and celebrate with it tonight. I hope you enjoy!
Bread of the Dead
makes two loaves
- 2 Tablespoons dry yeast (2 packages)
- 1/2 Cup warm water
- pinch of sugar
- 1/2 Cup of milk
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 Tablespoon Aniseed (also spelled Anise seed)
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 5-6 Cups white flour (unbleached is best)
-1/2 Cup sugar
- 1/3 Cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange peel
Sprinkle the yeast on the water, add the pinch of sugar and let stand until foamy.
Mix the milk, eggs, sugar, butter, seeds and salt together, then add the foamy yeast mixture.
Add the flour slowly, smoothing out lumps before adding more. When the mixture is too stiff to stir, turn out onto a floured surface and knead, adding flour carefully, just enough to keep it from becoming sticky. When the loaf is smooth and cohesive and begins to develop resistance to kneading, set in a buttered bowl.
Turn it over, cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled.
Punch down the dough and divide into two. Form loaves on greased cookie sheets or a baking stone sprinkled with cornmeal.
To form a skull, make the dough into a flattish oval, about 10 inches long and 7 inches wide. With a sharp knife, cut slits for eyes, nose and mouth. With your fingers, gently pull the dough back along these slits to form the skull-like hollows for the features. Cover and let rise till it is about 80 percent doubled. Use your fingers again to reestablish the holes and openings. Brush with an egg white beaten with a teaspoon of water.
To form a figure, break off a piece of the dough about the size of a Ping-Pong ball. Make the rest of the dough into a cylinder about 12 inches long. Cut one end of the cylinder in half lengthwise, separate into legs, and shape feet. Just above the legs, cut into the dough about an inch horizontally, then upward to within an inch of the top. Pull out to form arms, then smooth the sides of the torso. Add the reserved dough as the head. Let the loaf rise and brush with the egg white mixture.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Let the forms cool completely before glazing.
For the topping, boil the ingredients together for 2 minutes. Let it cool down until it's a thick liquid. Drip onto forms as decorations.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN/SAMHAIN TO ALL OUR READERS! We hope you have a fun and safe evening.