Food 02 Nov 2007 07:58 pm
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but maybe for me this is LoMoCoMo: local more cooking month. I’ve been mostly living on industrial-food crap for weeks now. But yesterday I started getting it together again. For one thing, I made a batch of pan de muerto for the first time. It’s basically an orange brioche. Yummy stuff. Next time, I think I’ll try making it into rolls, and I’ll par-bake and freeze half the batch — or maybe invite a bunch of people over. This makes about twice as much as Josh and I can eat. Recipe follows.
Pan de Muerto
2 T aniseeds
2 packages yeast
2 sticks melted cooled unsalted butter
1/2 c sugar
6 egg yolks, broken up a bit
2 whole eggs, broken up a bit
1 1/2 t orange flower water
1 T finely grated orange zest, about two small oranges’ worth
1/2 t salt
4-5 c unbleached AP flour
a little more butter
1 egg, beaten to an even consistency with a little water
3 T melted butter
1/4 c sugar
Put the aniseeds in a small bowl and pour 1/4 c of boiling water over them. Steep until cool, and strain. Meanwhile, melt the butter and grate the orange peel.
Put the yeast into the bowl of your lovely stand mixer and add about 1/2 cup of warm water. Let it bloom briefly, then add the anise tea, butter, sugar egg yolks, eggs, orange flower water, orange zest, and salt. With the paddle attachment, stir in about three cups of the flower. Switch to the dough hook. Gradually add flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Now, if you’re a visual sort of person and you really know what you’re doing, I’m sure you could finish the whole thing in the stand mixer. I, however, am not much of a bread baker, and I get a lot out of the tactile feedback. So at this point I dump the dough out of the mixer and knead on a floured surface for about 8-10 minutes, adding a little more flour at a time until the dough felt smooth and elastic. The end result is loose and floppy but not sticky.
Let it rise covered in a buttered bowl until doubled, about 1.5 hours. Punch down and shape into two loaves on a buttered sheet pan. (Traditional shape: a moderately flattened round decorated with a central knob with 4-6 spokes. I think that’s supposed to be a skull and bones. Good luck making those spokes look like bones, though.) Cover loosely and let rise again for about an hour.
Brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash and bake at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes. The loaves should be pretty well browned. Brush the loaves with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar, and let them cool on a wire rack.