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While this is in no way a traditional Day of the Dead bread, the kind, for instance, you would put on your Day of the Dead altar, this delicious foccacia is still my own special Day of the Dead loaf. It includes yummy Mexican cheeses, olive oil, salt, and fresh, colorful vegetables. I do it all to catch the uniquely festive nature of the day as my family celebrates it in Mexico. (For an example of the festive colors of Day of the Dead, see my son’s photo essay on the flowers of Day of the Dead in Mexico.)
I hope you enjoy it! Please note, this recipe requires an overnight resting period. All those rises and that time overnight makes the bread flavor more complex and very tasty. Have fun!
Silvia’s Día de Muertos Foccacia Style Bread
Serves 1-4 (I could sit and eat the whole thing myself, if I didn’t have to share it)
- 7/8 of a cup of water 110-120 degrees
- 1 tsp Rapid Rise yeast
- 1 3/4 cups of unbleached white flour, plus more if needed
- 1/8 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/8 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing loaf and oiling bowl
- 1 tsp fine grain sea salt
- green olives
- red and yellow bell peppers
- green onion
- 1 package of Cacique Queso Quesadilla Shredded Cheese
- 1 package of Cacique Queso Quesadilla Jalapeño
You will also need:
- spatula (optional)
- 2 large bowls
- plastic wrap
- parchment paper
- baking sheet or pan
Lightly oil a large bowl with olive oil before starting.
Then start by combining the rapid rise yeast with the very warm water in a large bowl. Wait for a minute, then carefully swirl or stir bowl to make sure yeast is dissolved. Add white and wheat flours, olive oil, and salt. Mix it all together.
I like to start with a spatula until it’s mixed enough that I can mix with my hand. I like to use just one hand so the other stays clean. Keep mixing for 12-15 minutes. Add small amounts of flour (using that clean hand) if needed in case dough is too wet or too sticky to work. But this dough will be very soft and sticky (Also, I live very near the water, so I usually need more flour than folks who live in the dry desert. That’s why I said “plus more” white flour if needed above).
After 15 minutes you should be able to shape the dough into a ball. Place the dough in your oiled bowl, then flip it so both sides are coated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warmish place (75-80 F), out of drafts, until the dough doubles in size, 20 minutes to 40 min, depending on environment.
Remove plastic wrap and enjoy punching the dough down. Lift deflated dough out of bowl and place on top of parchment paper which is lining your baking sheet or pan. Lay two 1 inch by 3 inch rectangles of the Queso Quesadilla Jalapeño on top of dough. Next, fold the edges of the dough over to cover the cheese rectangles so they end up in the center of the dough. Shape into a ball. Place it back down on the parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Take dough out of fridge in the morning and leave it in a warm, draft-free spot until it reaches room temperature (up to 2 hours or more depending on your environment).
Remove plastic wrap, deflate the dough with your hand, massage it a little with the heel of your palm 3 or 4 times, not much, and shape it into a flat oval, then cover with wrap and let it rise again in a warm, draft-free spot about an hour.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
At this point, make indentations for the eyes, nose, and mouth of the skull. Drizzle olive oil into the indentations, then brush or drizzle the rest of the loaf with olive oil. Sprinkle sea salt lightly over the entire loaf.
Remove from oven.
Finally, let the loaf cool on a rack for a few minutes, then add vegetables to bring a light-hearted and colorful pop to your special Day of the Dead loaf.
Check more cheesy Day of the Dead inspired dishes right here.
Happy Day of the Dead!