$31,352 to go to meet our Challenge Grant, by December 1st. Your gift now will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic Recipe: Bread of the Dead

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 package active dry, or cake, yeast
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • Details

  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Mexico

Also Called: Pan de Muerto

The memorial feast for all departed ones in a common annual celebration was inaugurated by St. Odilo, Abbot of Cluny, in 1040. Rome approved this practice, and in the fourteenth century the "Commemoration of All Souls" was prescribed as a liturgical rite for the whole Church, to be held on November 2. Pope Benedict XV in 1915 allowed all priests to say three Masses on All Souls' Day in order to give increased help to the spirits of the departed in purgatory.

In pre-Christian times people practiced the custom of putting food at the graves at such times of the year when the spirits of the dead were believed to roam their familiar earthly places. The month of November was one of these seasons, and the ancient custom was continued in the Christian era in honor of the holy souls. From this comes the practice of baking special breads ("All Souls' Bread") for November 2, and of bestowing them on children and the poor, as well as eating them at the family table. This custom is still widespread in Europe and South America. Each nation has its own traditional items of "Soul Bread" and peculiar customs of eating or distributing them.

DIRECTIONS

Bring milk to boil in saucepan; remove from heat. Add sugar, salt, shortening; stir until shortening is melted and mixture is lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in mixture; beat in egg and egg yolk. Add flour: mix until moderately stiff. Knead until smooth. Reserve on board 30 minutes covered with damp cloth. Divide dough into 3 equal parts; roll into ropes 16 inches long; reserve small amount of dough for decoration. Braid dough, pressing ends together to seal. Reserve braid on lightly greased baking sheet covered with damp cloth; allow to rise in warm place 1 1/2 hours. Shape reserved small mound of dough into cross and decorate loaf. Brush with melted butter. Bake 25-30 minutes at 375°.

Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965
Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Putting Our Best Foot Forward 15 hours ago
Contentious Spirits, Beware! October 30
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6