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Discover yema bread: a delicious tradition of the Day of the Dead

24 mayo, 2021

Oaxaca never ceases to amaze us with its colors, aromas and flavors. And since the Day of the Dead is approaching, we have to tell you about one of its tasty traditions: the yolk bread.

Did you already know him? Today we invite you to know its history and also a delicious recipe for you to enjoy at home. Keep reading!

It may interest you: Enjoy with the children the first Day of the Dead Parade online

Yema bread: the flavor of Day of the dead in Oaxaca

This bread is also known as the bread of the dead, but it is different from the ones we know: the round bread with figures of bones and dusted with sugar.

Yema bread, beyond its ingredients, is distinguished by being decorated with faces and figures of the weakling. Yes, it is decorated! We are not surprised, because everything is color and beauty in Oaxaca, even the food.

However, the bread of the dead from Oaxaca is consumed all year round, unlike the bread of the dead we know. Only, for these dates, it is decorated with figurine faces that represent the souls.

This tradition began not long ago, but three generations ago, when the wealthy families of San Pablo Villa de Mitla requested the creation of a bread that would distinguish their offerings from others.

And it is that in the Mitla Valley, the bakers are all artisans, who do not only care that their bread tastes good: they actually want each piece to be a work of art.

Yolk bread recipe

(Photo: Getty Images)

Do not miss: Discover how the Day of the Dead is celebrated in Oaxaca

A bread for each dead

The tradition of yema bread for Day of the Dead involves a whole artisanal and also symbolic process: each bread represents the soul of the deceased (that is, the souls do not share the bread), which is why these are in high demand: a bakery , for example, you can make up to 4,000 pieces in one day.

The creation process is divided into two parts: the apprentices are in charge of making the basic piece of bread, while the masters are responsible for the ornamentation; that is, the creation of the face of the deceased or also with religious allegories.

You are interested: Get inspired by these photos to make your Day of the Dead offering

Yolk bread recipe

Take advantage of the season and learn how to prepare a delicious yolk bread. We tell you everything you need to do it in your kitchen:


  • 1 kg of bread flour
  • 75 pastry flour
  • 120g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 25 g of pressed yeast
  • 1 egg yolk (to paint the dough)
  • 90g sugar
  • 1 tbsp. anise seeds
  • 1 glass of water
  • Mini sugar, chocolate, and / or amaranth skulls to decorate


  1. Heat the water so that it is lukewarm, remove from the heat and slowly dissolve the yeast. Add the pastry flour along with a tablespoon of sugar. Mix and let stand half an hour, until the mixture begins to bubble.
  2. Besides, place the flour in a bowl that is deep. Make a hole in the center and place the rest of the sugar, butter, salt and beaten eggs, the anise grains and the yeast mixture there. Knead until you get a homogeneous and elastic dough.
  3. Form a ball with the dough and let it rest in a previously greased container. Cover with a cloth so that it does not give it air and let it double in volume (approximately 1 hour).
  4. Knead to remove the air and form a round loaf. Place on a greased baking dish and let it rest again until it doubles in size again.
  5. Make a few cuts on the surface and make small holes to later place the mini skulls, varnish with the yolk, sprinkle the anise grains and bake in the preheated oven at 190 ° C for 40 minutes.
  6. Rectify and remove from the oven. In the holes, decorate with the mini skulls.

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