On the occasion of Day of the Dead, this vegan Day of the Dead bread recipe is both scrumptious and simple to make. The bread, also known as Pan de Muertos in Spanish, is a sweet bun-shaped bread that is lightly flavored with orange zest and topped with sugar.
I am confident that you will love it so much that you will want to bake it more than once.
Why is it vegan? The original recipe for this bread includes eggs and milk, but my version eliminates these ingredients. Despite the changes, the bread remains soft and has a subtle orange flavor, making it a delicious option for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE DAY OF THE DEAD?
The Day of the Dead is a huge holiday in Mexico, and it is not a day to celebrate or venerate death. On this day, our deceased loved ones are honored and remembered.
In honor of our departed loved ones, the Day of the Dead is celebrated. We honor them by creating an Altar de Muertos, where we place their favorite foods, flowers, a picture of them, and the vegan Day of the Dead bread, Pan de Muerto, on the altar. The purpose is to offer food and drink to the souls of the deceased who come back to visit us, tired and thirsty.
We also create ofrendas, which are offerings left by families next to their loved one’s graves. In Mexico, pan de Muertos can be found in panaderías (bakeries) as early as September.
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead is a significant celebration that honors the memory of those who have passed away. It is not a celebration of death, but rather a way to show love and respect to our departed loved ones.
The holiday begins on October 31 and continues until November 2. It is an opportunity to keep their memory alive and to cherish the time we spent with them.
The best way to show respect to our loved ones
One of the best ways to honor and remember our loved ones is by paying our respects to them. It is important to take time to reflect on their lives and the impact they had on us and to show our gratitude and appreciation for the time we had with them.
This can be done through various means, such as visiting their gravesite, holding a memorial service, or simply taking a moment of silence to remember them. Whatever method we choose, it is a way to keep their memory alive and continue to cherish their legacy.
The most common way to pay our respects to the deceased is to do an altar. This altar is to let the dead know that they are welcome to visit and that we still love them and miss them. Usually, there is one altar per person. It does not have to be big or fancy; just some flowers and food will do. A simple ofrenda will also do the trick.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE Day of the Dead BREAD (pan de Muerto)?
The Day of the Dead is a significant and traditional holiday in Mexico. One of the most typical and meaningful foods for this day is the “Pan de Muerto,” a bread decorated with pieces of bread dough forming bones and skulls.
The bones are arranged in a circular shape to represent the circle of life. Each state in Mexico has its own recipe and shape for the pan de Muerto. Some states make the bread in the form of animals, flowers, or dead people.
The Day of the Dead is a celebration of life after death, rather than a day to be filled with sadness and tears. It's an occasion to honor and cherish the memories we have of our loved ones who have passed away. Although they may no longer be with us physically, their spirits live on in our hearts and minds.
What is pan de muerto?
Pan de Muerto is a round loaf of bread, slightly sweet and with a soft crumb texture. It is lightly flavored with orange zest, and in some places, they add anise seeds as well.
Traditional Decorations for the Day of the Dead
When it comes to celebrating the Day of the Dead, one of the most important traditions is the preparation of the traditional bread and the decoration of the altar.
Sugar Skull. One of the most iconic decorations for the Day of the Dead is the sugar skull. Traditionally made with granulated sugar, water, and meringue powder, sugar skulls are intricately decorated with colorful icing. To make them vegan-friendly, you can substitute meringue powder with aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas, which has a similar consistency. Use vegan-friendly food coloring to achieve vibrant hues for your sugar skulls.
Marigolds, known as “cempasúchil” in Spanish, is another essential element in Day of the Dead celebrations. These bright orange flowers are believed to guide the spirits of the departed back to their loved ones during the festivities. To incorporate marigolds into your vegan Day of the Dead bread decorations, consider using edible marigold petals or creating marigold-shaped icing decorations.
Papel picado, traditional Mexican cut paper banners, can also be used to adorn vegan Day of the Dead bread. Opt for vegan-friendly paper materials and cut out intricate designs that represent the spirit of the holiday. These delicate paper banners can be attached to toothpicks and inserted into the bread for a festive touch.
HOW TO MAKE Vegan Day of the DEAD BREAD?
The recipe for Bread of the Dead is quite simple and requires only a few ingredients. You will need all-purpose flour, vegetable milk (such as almond or soy milk), active dry yeast, orange zest, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
The steps to make it are straightforward and easy to follow. For detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card.
First, you have to heat the milk and the oil in a saucepan. The temperature should be 95ºF (35ºC) or warm to the touch if you do not have a thermometer.
Second, measure the sugar and flour and put them in the bowl of the electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the non-dairy milk and vegetable oil, and beat at medium speed until all is well integrated.
I like to leave my dough mixing for 5 -8 minutes or until soft and smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.
Third, let the dough rise. To make the bread, start by forming a round base, then add knobs to represent the bones. Lastly, form a dough ball and place it at the top and center of the loaf.
Place the bread on a baking sheet and bake it until golden brown. Once it’s out of the oven, you can glaze it with a simple syrup or brush it with melted vegetable butter and sprinkle some white sugar on top.
The dough for the delicious vegan pan de muerto is a bit sticky, it is normal. When kneading dough balls, use flour on your hands and work surface to prevent sticking, especially when forming the "bones" on top.
When to prepare this bread?
Every year, as October comes to a close, I prepare a vegan Day of the Dead bread for my family. It’s a tradition that we all look forward to, and for good reason – the bread is absolutely delicious! It pairs perfectly with a steaming hot cup of coffee, or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can enjoy it the way we do in Mexico City – with a rich hot chocolate or a refreshing horchata.
As someone who grew up in Mexico, I can tell you that this bread is an important part of our Dia de los Muertos celebration, and I’m proud to carry on the tradition in my own way.
Other epic Vegan Mexican recipes
Get ready to celebrate the Day of the Dead with delicious vegan bread! This recipe is perfect for honoring the memories of loved ones who have passed and celebrating the lives of those who are still with us.
The bread is not only vegan but also flavorful and aromatic, with a touch of sweetness that makes it irresistible. Follow this recipe and enjoy a warm and comforting bread that will make your Day of the Dead celebration even more special.
Bake this bread to celebrate the lives of the people who came before us and to celebrate their legacy, but above all, to celebrate eternal life. Quick tip, if you don’t have time to bake it, make Day of the Bread Cookies.
Made and loved this recipe? Give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below. Let me know if you have questions about this recipe in the comment section or DM me on Instagram. Follow on Facebook and Pinterest to stay in touch, and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter.
Vegan Day of the Dead Bread
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup safflower oil
- 4½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Bring the milk and oil to 95ºF. It should be warm.
- Put the flour in a bowl of an electric mixer and make a well in the middle. Sprinkle the sugar and the yeast. Pour the warm almond milk and oil and mix on slow speed with the hook attachment for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Transfer the dough to a heavily greased bowl.
- Cover and let the dough rise for an hour.
- Prepare one oven sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to the oven sheet and take three small pieces, with the rest form a ball. The dough will be sticky, flour your hands to prevent it from sticking.
- With one piece of dough form a ball, with the other two form two logs. Place the logs in form of an X on top of the big piece of dough and place the small ball on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on the top. While the bread is still warm brush some oil or melted vegan butter on top and sprinkle with sugar.
- The dough will be sticky, it is important to knead for 10 minutes.
- It is easier if form three Day of the Dead pieces of bread, they will hold their shape better and will cook faster.
- Use thick almond or other vegetable milk, nothing too watery.
Nutritional information of this recipe is only an estimate, the accuracy for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.