The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Mexican ‘Pan de los muertos’, two ‘straight’ breads and a fruit tart

chouette22's picture

Mexican ‘Pan de los muertos’, two ‘straight’ breads and a fruit tart

After many months, I have baked loaves from straight dough again, besides my pretty regular Zopf. I had refreshed my starters on Friday, but then the weekend presented itself in a way that I just couldn't keep up with a lengthy sourdough schedule, so in the fridge they went again, unused.

Yesterday, on Sunday, I made a "Pan de los muertos," a sweet and enriched bread traditionally baked on November 1st and 2nd in Mexico. One of our neighbors is from Mexico, but nor he nor his wife (who is American) have ever tried to bake this bread, thus to say thank you for so many little neighborly services, I made them a loaf (and one for ourselves). My yeast wasn't behaving properly and during fermentation, the dough hardly rose (I wasn't entirely sure if it was the yeast or the heavy buttery and eggy dough). However, it still turned out pretty well, and the taste was fabulous. The recipe called for orange blossom water and since I didn't have that, I added a little bit of rose syrup (something my Indian husband cannot live without). Result: the dough turned slightly red-orange (really pretty) and the flavor, also from the zest of a lemon, was simply amazing.

The top represents a skull and the sides are bones...

Today, while working from home, I looked through "Bread" in search of straight recipes and ended up trying the Semolina Bread with a Soaker (without the fennel seeds, p. 244) and the Five-Grain Bread (p. 238). I halved both recipes, thus producing only one loaf of each. My only changes to the recipes: I added 100g of discard sourdough starter to each (plus a little extra salt, since I increased the dough amount), thinking if nothing else, it might add some flavor.

For the durum flour called for in the recipe I used chapati flour (also called atta flour) that we still have from my mother-in-law's visit this past summer. It is a type of whole wheat flour made from durum wheat, high in protein, yellow in color. I just don't know if this is the same as what is used in semolina breads (despite researching it); anyhow it turned out pretty well and is very tasty.

Five-grain bread

Both of them were easy to make while grading online speaking assignments and papers.

Last week I needed to use up some plums (the very last of the season) and baked this rustic tart. I just love these fruit tarts, so quickly made and so tasty, not too sweet, just wonderful. Now I always add 1/3 to ½ cup of corn flour to my dough (pâte brisée), recommended by my French friend Sophie - I really like the extra crunch this produces.


Floydm's picture

Very nice.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Corn flour?  I'll have to try that.   I've used chapati flour too in my semolina loaf.  Good move!   The loaf of death, anything but dead.   Five grain came out well with nice shape.  I know you skipped the fennel but I hope you can try it, it is good.  Had some bread spiced with fennel today with strawberry cream cheese on top, it pleasently surprised me.  

You've been busy!


chouette22's picture

Floyd and Mini. Oh, so you have used chapati flour in this loaf as well - is it the same flour then? I just cannot imagine to make pasta from this chapati flour, and I believe that's what the durum flour is used for, besides making semolina bread. But from all I could find on it, it seems to be very similar (if not the same).

I'll try the fennel after your recommendation Mini, I actually have some on hand but was afraid it might overpower the bread.

Do give the corn flour a try in your tart or pie dough, it's delicious.

turosdolci's picture

I also love fruit tarts and make the all the time because they are so easy. Yours looks great.