Pan de Muerto Origin Blog

The Origin

You may have wondered about the Pan de Muerto's origins and especially because of its intriguing name. Pan de Muerto or Bread of the Dead has so much significance and we are happy to share more about the history of this bread.  According to historians, Pan de Muerto has its origin in the human sacrifices of pre-Columbian times. However, the dish was transformed after the Spanish rejected such ceremonies. Instead, they made a heart-shaped wheat loaf dipped in sugar painted red, simulating the maiden's blood. This is how the Bread of the Dead emerged as we know it today. A Pan de Muerto reflects the fusion of two worlds, pre-Hispanic and Spanish: The Mexican people's joy in celebrating death and the traditional use of wheat in European tradition. This bread symbolizes the cycle of life and death due to its circular shape. Its upper part, in the center, has a small circle that represents the skull surrounded by four canelillas, which symbolize the bones and the tears shed by those who are no longer with us.


Varieties of Pan de Muerto

 The Different Varieties of Pan de Muerto 

There is a great diversity of breads to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Mexico. There are those in the form of animals, people, plants or fantastic beings. Also, the classic Pan de Muerto has various presentations with pink sugar, sesame seeds, filled with cream, and much more! These breads are usually prepared for a seasonal time, between September and November, and are used to decorate the altars. Here are some variations from different states in Mexico:

In Mixquic, Mexico City, they make some breads called "despeinadas", red sugar donuts, the typical dead bread with sugar, sesame and granillo.

In the State of Mexico there are other breads called Muertes, which is an anthropomorphic bread made from egg yolk. In Texcoco, rabbit bread is made, made with butter, walnuts, guava and cinnamon. 

In Guerrero, the famous bread is called camarones, cakes and bitter are placed, there are also in the form of dead adorned with sugar. There are also others known as souls with sugar, donkeys, roses and mule legs and the tlaxcales made of corn in the shape of a triangle.

In Guanajuato, the bread is shaped as a human figure that represents the deceased, the totally white glazed represent children.

In Michoacán, the pan de muerto is made with wheat flour, soy yeast, sugar and salt.

In Oaxaca there are the so-called "regañadas" with puff pastry that represents the souls.





Pan de Muerto - Muy Bueno Cookbook 

To conclude our blog dedicated to the delicious and savory Pan de Muerto, we are sharing a recipe from our dear friend Yvette Marquez, Chef and Food Blogger at Muy Bueno Cookbook. She’s a native Texan, born and raised in El Paso. To view some delicious home-style Mexican recipes as well as heartwarming family stories, visit her website here, Muy Bueno Cookbook. 

To view the full recipe for Pan de Muerto, Click here.


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