Oaxaca Egg Yolk Bread for Day of the Dead

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Each state in Mexico has its own artisanal bread. Today we present our version of Oaxaca egg yolk bread, also called “pan de yema.”

a tray with bread buns

This Oaxaca egg yolk bread recipe is the classic method. We substituted the pork lard with butter, using instant yeast instead of fresh. And used black and white sesame seeds. But the rest of the ingredients are the same as the original recipe.

Why is the Oaxaca Egg Yolk Bread called that way?

a hand holding a bun of artisanal bread

The name “pan de yema” technically means egg bread. This classic bread has more yolks versus the number of whole eggs used in the recipe. The liquid required is minimal. It doesn’t use milk.

In contrast with the Day of the Dead bread, this version has anise seeds instead of orange peel. The seeds are presoaked to soften and for making a concentrated tea.

a collage of images showing the step by step process on making the bread dough

This artisanal bread is aromatic and soft. It almost melts in your mouth. The dough looks like a brioche, but the flavor is totally different. The sesame and the anise seeds give a special flavor that makes this Mexican bread so special.

History of the Oaxaca Egg Yolk Bread or Pan de Yema.

a collage showing bread and a mug with hot chocolate

This Mexican bread originated in Santo Domingo, Tomaltepec. A town located in Oaxaca’s Central Valley where the main commercial activity is baking the egg yolk bread. The baking method is using an adobe and brick oven.

The artisanal bread gets distributed to all the towns in the state and consumed yearlong. During the Day of the Dead festivities, the bread showcases small gum paste colorful angel faces representing the departed.

showing how to soak the bread in hot chocolate

A famous market in downtown Oaxaca focuses solely on selling this classic bread alongside a cup of frothy hot chocolate. This anise bread is important for the local culture as it represents bonds of peace and friendship—the reason why the bread is part of the menu at weddings, baptisms, and special occasions.

Tips for making the best Oaxaca egg yolk bread.

a gif showing the step by step process on how to make the dough

For getting that soft anise bread consistency, the dough requires a lot of work. If kneading the bread by hand, it will take at least forty-five minutes up to an hour to achieve the correct dough results.

I recommend using a stand mixer with a hook to reduce the time and allow the mixer to do intensive kneading the job.

Punching the dough and cutting into pieces

Make sure to use good quality all-purpose flour. Some recipes recommend bread flour, but in my opinion, that flour makes the bread too tough instead of tender.

Fresh yeast is the preferred ingredient in the classic recipe for Oaxaca egg yolk bread. Instead, we used a superior platinum yeast from Red Star yeast. The platinum yeast has dough improvers resulting in bakery quality.

Proofing the instant yeast

The butter and the eggs must be at room temperature. This allows the Mexican bread dough to mix well and rise correctly.

When proofing the yeast, use lukewarm water (maximum 110F) mixed with sugar and some flour. Do not use hot water that kills the yeast.

Showing the process on how to soak the anise seeds

Go easy with the anise seeds. Those have a strong flavor and adding more than the recommended amount could ruin the subtle anise notes of the true Oaxaca egg yolk bread.

In the premixing stage, we like to use a Danish dough whisk. It allows us to mix all ingredients well and is good when trying to work with dense doughs.

Step by step process on how to add the sesame seeds

Sift the flour before using, and use a whisk to combine the flour with the sugar and the salt. This method helps with keeping the flour light and fluffy.

For the first rise, place the dough inside a greased container and, with your hands, rub softly. Then cover and place it in a warm place.

Use a scale to measure the portions. This allows for uniformity and having the same size bread buns.

After forming the bread, place in a tray and cover again for a second rise, press each piece against the sesame seeds. Place the bread in a tray and let rise again.

a collage showing how the bread is soft and tender

The Oaxaca egg yolk bread has a characteristic cut in the middle. Use a sharp knife or a dough slasher. The cut should be deep but not to the point of cutting it through.

The artisanal bread buns will have to rest again covered for a fourth rise. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake at 375F for 18-20 minutes. Or until getting that characteristic deep brown color.

Best way to enjoy the Oaxaca egg yolk bread is with a cup of hot chocolate

Let the Oaxaca egg yolk bread rest in a rack and serve with a frothy hot chocolate. Store the bread in a plastic container with a lid. The bread should last fresh for 3-4 days.

a bread bun with sesame seeds

Oaxaca Egg Yolk Bread – Pan de Yema

Chef Adriana Martin
Each state in Mexico has its own artisanal bread. Today we present our version of Oaxaca egg yolk bread, also called "pan de yema." The recipe is the classic method. We substituted the pork lard with butter, used instant yeast instead of fresh. And added black and white sesame seeds. But the rest of the ingredients are the same as the original recipe.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Dough rise 2 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican Cuisine
Servings 12 people
Calories 345 kcal

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Stand Mixer
  • Scale
  • Danish dough whisk
  • Dough scraper
  • Dough Slasher
  • Baking sheets
  • Plastic container with a lid

Ingredients
  

  • 500 grams sifted all-purpose flour we like King Arthur Flour
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 120 grams butter at room temperature
  • 2 whole eggs at room temperature
  • 5 yolks at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon anise seeds presoaked in 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 packet Platinum Red Star yeast 21 grams of instant yeast with dough enhancers
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water to dissolve the instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds we used black and white sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Proof the yeast by mixing it with a half cup of lukewarm water, one teaspoon of sugar, and one tablespoon of flour. Cover and let it proof for a few minutes in a warm place.
  • Sift the flour and mix with the sugar and the salt. Use a whisk to keep it fluffy and light.
  • Soak the anise seeds with 1/4 cup of warm water to make a concentrated tea.
  • Separate the yolks from the whites and set aside. Crack two whole eggs and set aside on a separate bowl.
  • Mix the whole eggs and the yolks with the flour, the sugar, and the salt. Use a Danish dough whisk to ease the process.
  • Add the softened butter to the mix with the flour and the eggs and continue mixing. Finally, pour in the proofed yeast and keep whisking.
  • Knead the dough in the stand mixer for 30-40 minutes until the dough shows bubbles. Or is elastic enough that doesn't break when stretched.
  • Place the dough in the container and add a little bit of oil. Cover with a lid and let the dough rise until it doubles. This process could take an hour, depending on the temperature in the kitchen. The warmer it is, the fastest the rising process will be.
  • When the dough has risen take it out of the container and punch it. Add a bit of flour and knead with your hands.
  • Portion the dough by cutting and weighing each piece. We recommend dough balls of 100 grams each.
  • Place the dough balls in a tray and let them rise again. Cover with a cloth.
  • Press each dough ball against the sesame seeds for those to stick. Place the dough balls in a tray and let rise again. Cover with a cloth.
  • Cut in the middle of each dough ball using a dough slasher. The cut should be deep enough for a perfect marking. Let the dough rise again covered with a cloth.
  • Preheat the oven at 400F.
  • Bake the bread at 375F for 18-20 minutes. Or until getting that characteristic deep brown color.

Notes

  • For getting that soft anise bread consistency, the dough requires a lot of work. If kneading the dough by hand, consider it will take at least forty-five minutes up to an hour to achieve the correct results.
  • I recommend using a stand mixer with a hook to reduce the time and allow the mixer to do the kneading job.
  • Make sure to use good quality all-purpose flour. Some recipes recommend bread flour, but in my opinion, that flour makes the bread too tough instead of tender.
  • Fresh yeast is the preferred ingredient in the classic recipe for Oaxaca egg yolk bread. Instead, we used a superior platinum yeast from Red Star yeast.
  • The platinum yeast from Red Star has dough improvers making this Mexican bread perfect, so you aren’t intimidated making it at home.
  • ⁣If you think bread making is intimidating, try Red Star Platinum yeast and King Arthur Flour. No need to be an expert baker!⁣
  • The butter and the eggs must be at room temperature. This allows the Mexican bread dough to mix well and rise correctly.
  • When proofing the yeast, use lukewarm water (maximum 110F) mixed with sugar and some flour. Do not use hot water that kills the yeast.
  • Go easy with the anise seeds. Those have a strong flavor and adding more than the recommended amount could ruin the subtle anise notes of the true Oaxaca egg yolk bread.
  • In the premixing stage, we like to use a Danish dough whisk. It allows us to mix all ingredients well and is good when trying to work with dense doughs.
  • Sift the flour before using, and use a whisk to combine the flour with the sugar and the salt. This method helps with keeping the flour light and fluffy.
  • For the first rise, place the dough inside a greased container and, with your hands, rub softly. Then cover and place it in a warm place.
  • Use a scale to measure the portions. This allows for uniformity and having the same size bread buns.
  • After forming the bread, place in a tray and cover again for a second rise, press each piece against the sesame seeds. Place the bread in a tray and let rise again.
  • The Oaxaca egg yolk bread has a characteristic cut in the middle. Use a sharp knife or a dough slasher. The cut should be deep but not to the point of cutting it through.
  • The artisanal bread buns will have to rest again covered for a fourth rise. Preheat the oven to 400F and bake at 375F for 18-20 minutes. Or until getting that characteristic deep brown color.

Nutrition

Calories: 345kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 8gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 185mgPotassium: 98mgFiber: 2gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 398IUCalcium: 84mgIron: 3mg
Keyword bread, day of the dead, eggs, Oaxaca
Tried this recipe?Mention @adrianasbestrecipes or tag #abrecipes on Instagram

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10 Comments
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Tawnie

5 stars
Love the step by step photos – very helpful. I will try this recipe!

Genevieve

5 stars
I love that you celebrate Day of the Dead, and this egg yolk bread recipe sounds delicious!

Tara

5 stars
Such a gorgeous bread! I love your styling and the combination of black and white sesame seeds. The texture sounds incredible.

Sara Welch

5 stars
I’ve never tried this before, but you’ve inspired me to give this a shot! Looks so light and flavorful! Yum!

Katie Crenshaw

5 stars
This bread is BEAUTIFUL! The combination of sesame and anise seeds adds so much flavor! Homemade bread is always the best! Great tips and recipe on how to make this bread from scratch.

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