Preparing Rosca de Reyes for winter celebrations

The biggest single sales day for many bakeries across the country comes on January 6, a holiday known as Epiphany.

The date is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in the life of Jesus Christ, according to the Christian Bible. The first event involved the three wise men, or kings, visiting the baby Jesus. The second event marks when Saint John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

The traditional Mexican bread known as Rosca de Reyes is shaped like a ring (or also a crown) that represents the search of the wise men for the baby Jesus.

Two styles of Rosca have become popular. One is the traditional.

“We make the Rosca the traditional way,” explains Maricela Arellano, who started her family bakery business, La Purisima Bakery, 39 years ago with her husband, Juan. “We make the Rosca with traditional colors and a baby.”

A small plastic figure is placed inside the Rosca bread before it is cut. This figure represents the baby Jesus. It is considered good luck if the figurine is on the piece you receive.

La Purisima operates two retail bakeries: one in Phoenix and one in suburban Glendale, Arizona.

Other bakeries in the area agree that their customers prefer the traditional style of Rosca.

“Our baker here is very particular,” says Veronica Ortiz of La Estrella, which is located in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, Arizona. “Instead of peeling the orange, we use a grinder to make the orange peels. Our baker puts it in the dough and it tastes great.”

The cake, in the shape of a roscón, is basically a brioche dough rich in egg with butter and a lot of sugar. Standard aromas are dark rum, orange zest, and orange blossom water.

Rosca means “crown” and Reyes means “kings”. The shape of the cake is symbolic of a crown, as it is shaped like an oval. The plastic baby inside the cake represents baby Jesus, and whoever gets the piece of cake containing the baby must throw a party in February to celebrate Candlemas Day. This day brings the official close of the Christmas season.

With the help of BakeMark, you can help create an Epiphany to remember for all customers. You can start with BakeMark’s Trigal Dorado Bizcocho Mix to prepare your own Rosca de Reyes. BakeMark also has the acitron strips that traditionally adorn the top of the cake in their Trigal Dorado line.

Bakers create alternate versions of Rosca with several goals in mind.

Some swap sweet wine for rum, extra virgin olive oil for butter, and dried fig compote for candied cherries. Some add cardamom seeds.

An interesting variation made by a baker involves half of the ring as “savoury”, for toast or sandwiches, and the other half divided and filled with whipped cream and figs.

Any type of variation offers opportunities to expand the appeal of your baked goods to younger customers, in particular.

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