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Special sweet loaves called panes de muerto are prepared for this day to please the living (and the dead). They represent the animas or souls of the departed. They are oval or round, and have raised skulls and crossbones or simple nobs that represent skulls. Others take on the shape of human figures and are decorated with colored glazes or colored sesame seeds. (The seeds represent happiness.) The bakers in Oaxaca insert tiny faces or caritas in their human-shaped loaves before they are baked in brick ovens. These small faces represent religious persons. They are detailed with vegetable dyes and toothpicks. The consumption of this bread recalls the taking of bread in Communion.
Ingredients for bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon anise seed
2 packages dry yeast
Combine and heat in saucepan:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup margarine
Set aside for later use:
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour
Ingredients for glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1. Mix dry ingredients, add warm liquid and beat.
2. Add 4 eggs and 1 cup of the flour and beat.
3. Gradually blend in remaining flour.
4. Knead on lightly floured board for 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Place dough in greased bowl and let rise until doubled (1 1/2 hours).
6. Punch dough down and make shapes. Let rise again for 1 hours.
7. Bake at 350o F for 40 minutes.
8. Boil glaze ingredients for 2 minutes. Apply to warm shapes