Pan de muerto con nuez Don Zabor

Bread of the dead with walnuts Don Zabor

Donzabor Mèxico

A delicacy that we all wish were available all year round; this is the traditional bread of the dead, with an unexpected flavor twist.

Colonial origin, Mexican tradition

We have known for years that our traditions have European influences, and not only that, but also Catholic; There is a myth that our bread for the dead was created by the Spanish to replace a supposed Mexica tradition, which consisted of sacrificing maidens or princesses and offering them to the gods, placing their hearts in a pot with amaranth, and whoever led the rite bit the heart in gratitude. For this reason, and in order to soften this tradition, the Spanish made a bread painted red, since they did not allow the continuation of indigenous practices.

Also, Fray Bernardino de Sahagún mentions that the Mexica offered to the dead a kind of unleavened bread, without lime, which they called yotlaxcalli, which could be interpreted in various figures, one of them the papalotlaxcalli or bread of butterfly in honor of deceased girls. A seal in the shape of a butterfly was printed on it and, once cooked, it was painted in colors and distributed to the community.

Although we cannot blindly trust Sahagún since he himself made a later edition of his texts, making it a bit contradictory, this last practice makes sense, although it does not exempt it from the implementation of the Catholic customs of New Spain .

From Rome, to our homes

According to the studies of Dr. Elsa Malvido (EPD), from the Direction of Historical Studies of the INAH, it is not a pre-Hispanic tradition but rather a Roman one; In his Study Workshop on Death, and from his own experience, he concluded that it was originally a Roman tradition, which consisted not only of placing an altar for the dead, but also of leaving food so that the deceased relatives could enjoy it and in return bring toys for children.

He affirms that “the two most important reflections that have emerged (from the workshop) have been, first, to demonstrate that the festivities of the first and second of November are of Catholic origin and were established in the 10th century , demystifying in this way, the political and anthropological reinvention that affirms that they come from the pre-Hispanic days of the dead.

“The second conclusion, no less important, is to understand that the human animal is one and the same universally and that due to a certain characteristic of fear

performs rituals in the hope of reaching life after death, keeping the memory of their ancestors and trying not to erase their existence.”

The bread of the dead in our times

Although we are not sure of its origin, and in the different regions of Mexico each bread is different, we want to share with you our delicious, nutritious and improved version with its star ingredient, the walnut. If you want to make your own bread of the dead, this is your chance.We share the recipe below!


  • 1⁄4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of yeast
  • 1 pinch of sugar
  • 4 cups of wheat flour
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 2⁄3 cup canned condensed milk
  • 1⁄2 cup walnut chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (orange part only)
  • 3⁄4 cup of sugar
  • 200 gr butter at room temperature
  • Sugar and butter to glaze
  1. Dissolve the yeast and a pinch of sugar in the warm water, letting it sit until it ferments (only for about 5 minutes; if you see bubbles when stirring, the mixture is ready)

  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, eggs, condensed milk, salt, vanilla, orange zest, walnuts and the mixture you made in the previous step and stir to form a dough.

  3. Little by little, add the butter alternating with the sugar until they are completely incorporated. It doesn't matter if it's a bit sticky, you don't need to add more flour.

  1. In a previously greased bowl, let the dough rest and cover it with film or cloth for about 3 hours or until it doubles in size.

  2. Once it's ready, knead again and divide the dough into 5 equal parts.

  3. To one of these parts, knead adding a little more flour and set aside.

  4. To the other 4 parts, form the balls and place them in trays previously greased, leaving them to rest for 30 more minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, with the dough you reserved, form the sticks and balls that will go on each bread representing the bones. Let them rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Once the buns have rested, use a little water to stick the bones and balls in the shape of a cross on each ball of dough. Let stand for 2 hours or until doubled in size again.

  7. Bake at 180° C for 20 minutes or until the loaves are golden brown on the surface.

  8. When you remove them from the oven, let them cool for about 15 minutes and glaze with butter, sprinkling with sugar to taste.

If you prepared this recipe, don't forget to tag us on social networks, and find the best quality Don Zabor ingredients at any Walmart, Superama, Bodega Aurrera , H-E-B, laComer, CityClub and Alsuper.


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