Welcome to a vegan twist on a beloved Mexican tradition - Pan de Muerto! If you've never heard of this delightful treat, it's a sweet, fluffy, and utterly delicious bread that's perfect for Dia de los Muertos celebrations. The best part? It's entirely plant-based, and you won't believe how light and airy it turns out.
What's Pan de Muerto?
In case you've never heard of this kind of bread, it's super traditional in Mexico (where I am from) during September-November season.
In my country, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. And, in fact, Pan de Muerto is linked to that celebration. One of the most beautiful and colorful traditions in my beloved Mexico.
And guys, I can't stress enough how soft the bread is when you add a magical ingredient to the dough.
Which isssssssssss… * drum roll * POTATO!
Yup! Incorporating some mashed potato into the dough will add lots of softness, moisture, fluffiness and yumminess to our bread.
What ingredients do I need to make this Vegan Pan de Muerto?
Before we get our hands in the dough, let's talk about the star-studded cast of ingredients that make this Vegan Pan de Muerto so special:
- All-Purpose Flour: The foundation of our bread, giving it that perfect airy texture.
- White Sugar: Adding a touch of sweetness to the dough.
- Dry Yeast: The secret behind those fluffy, rising layers.
- Salt: Enhancing the overall flavor.
- Soy Milk: Providing creaminess and moisture.
- Orange Juice: A zesty twist that adds brightness to the bread.
- Orange Zest: For that extra burst of citrusy flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: Elevating the aroma and taste.
- Margarine or Vegan Butter: Bringing rich, buttery goodness.
- Cooked Potato: Surprisingly, the key to Pan de Muerto's softness and fluffiness.
Variations for this Vegan Pan de Muerto
While traditional Pan de Muerto is a delight in itself, why not experiment with flavors? Here are some fun variations to try:
- Chocolate Twist: Add cocoa powder and vegan chocolate chips for a delightful chocolatey surprise.
- Almond Delight: Sprinkle sliced almonds on top for a nutty crunch.
- Fruit Fusion: Mix in dried cranberries or raisins for a fruity twist.
- Cinnamon Charm: Dust with cinnamon sugar for an extra layer of flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I omit the potato in this recipe?
The potato is an extremely crutial part in this vegan pan de muerto, especially to achieve the right texture. Potato starch attracts and holds more water than wheat starch, therefore it is a very simple way to increase the moisture content in breads.
Personally, for this vegan pan de muerto, I would not omit the potato unless it is substituted for potato flour or potato starch.
Can I use a different plant milk instead of soy milk?
Absolutely! You can substitute soy milk with any other plant milk of your choice.
My dough is sticky; should I add more flour?
If the dough feels very sticky, it means you need to knead longer. The key to achieving a fluffy and light bread is to avoid adding more flour than it needs to prevent the dough from drying out. I know it can be very tempting to add a little extra flour to make the kneading easier, but trust me, just keep kneading until it stops sticking to your hands. The dough will be slightly sticky, but not to the point where the dough remains messy and gooey on your hands (I suggest watching the video to give you a clearer idea of what it should look like).
How do I know when the dough has doubled in size?
You'll notice that the dough has expanded significantly, usually taking up twice the space it originally occupied.
Can I make this vegan pan de muerto in a larger presentation?
Without a doubt, just keep an eye on the time, depending on how big you make the bread, you may need 3 to 7-8 extra minutes in the oven.
Can I freeze this bread?
Yes, you can freeze it for later enjoyment. Just make sure it's well-wrapped to prevent freezer burn.
What's the best way to reheat Pan de Muerto?
A quick zap in the microwave for 10-15 seconds will make it warm and extra soft.
Can I use sweet potato instead of regular potato?
While regular potato is traditional, sweet potato can be a tasty alternative.
See how I made this Vegan Pan de Muerto 👀
There you have it, a delightful journey into the world of Vegan Pan de Muerto! This recipe is not only a treat for your taste buds but also a wonderful way to embrace cultural traditions with a plant-based twist.
If you like Mexican Pan Dulce, we highly recommend trying our Vegan Mexican Conchas!
The Best Vegan Pan de Muerto
- 560 g all purpose flour, (4 ⅔ cups)
- 160 g white sugar, (¾ cup + 1 tbsp)
- 2 teaspoon instant dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup soy milk*, warm
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 g margarine or vegan butter, melted, (½ cup + ½ tbsp)
- 170 g cooked potato, peeled & mashed (~⅔ cup already mashed)
- 2 tablespoon margarine or vegan butter, melted
- ½ cup white sugar
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
- In another medium bowl, mix the milk, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla and melted margarine (120 g). Add the mashed potato and mix again.
- Pour the previous mixture into the flour bowl and mix until the dough begins to come together.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead for 8 minutes or until the dough looks slightly shiny, feels very soft, but no longer sticks so easily to your hands.
- Grease a large bowl with a little margarine and place the dough inside it. Cover with a kitchen towel or a large plate to generate some heat and allow the dough to rise. Place the bowl in a warm spot, until it doubles in size (approximately 1-1½ hours).PS. The dough can feel a little sticky but don't worry, it's normal (don't add any extra flour).
- Once the dough is done proofing, punch it down to deflate it, this will allow you to handle it better.
- Scoop the dough out of the bowl, take around 130 g of it and reserve. Divide the remaining dough into 8 parts. Roll each of them and transfer to a baking tray (previously lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat). Make sure to leave enough space between each piece. Slightly press each ball.
- Divide the 130 g dough into 16 parts and spread each of them into strips long enough to cover the dough balls. When spreading each strip, roll them with your hand and fingers ajar to form some kind of "knobs" that represent the bones (optionally you can reserve a little bit of dough to make the little balls that go on top of the 'X').
- Place 2 of the "bone" strips (forming an ‘X’) on top of a ball of dough (optionally in this step you can place the little balls on top of the 'X'). Repeat the process with the rest of the dough balls and strips.
- Cover with a towel and let rise for another hour in a warm place or until doubled in size.
- Fifteen minutes before the resting time is over, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the bread looks slightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the bread cool down for 10 minutes.
- Melt 2 tablespoon margarine and brush the bread with it. Coat with some sugar.
- Keep the bread in an air-tight container to prevent it from drying up. It's recommended to heat the bread up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds (in case you want it to be a little warm and extra soft).