With its distinctive wreath shape, rosca de reyes draws in customers by the droves into panaderías from late December through the first week of January. This traditional bread is served at parties for the Catholic holiday of Epiphany, which falls on Jan. 6.

What is important to recognize is that creative bakers are increasingly making new variations of rosca de reyes, helping appeal to a more mainstream set of customers and, thus, increasing sales during this all-important holiday.

BakeMark features an innovative example of rosca de reyes that is simple to prepare. Start by shaping your bread dough into an oval shape and then prepare thick strips of brightly colored pasta dough (in pink, yellow and purple) that you place on the oval prior to baking. Add citrons and/or figs to the top for decoration and flavor.

BakeMark technicians recommend placing the dough, which can be prepared using Trigal Dorado Bizcocho Mix, on a sheet pan before applying egg wash to add shine to the finished product. Prior to baking, allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes to an hour and then apply strips of pasta dough around the ring. You can bake it with fruit on top, but it is probably going to be a little drier, according to BakeMark technicians, who recommend applying the fruit candy after baking.

At Zimatlan Bakery & Deli in Seaside, California, owner Hector Bernardo specializes in breads of his native Oaxaca, Mexico, including pan de yema, which is a flaky bread made with egg yolks and typically covered in sesame seeds. This bread is traditionally associated with celebrations such as Día de los Muertos and the Epiphany.

“With this kind of dough, we can make different shapes of breads,” says Bernardo, while holding a large celebration bread that he created in his own unique style.

His bakery also makes a unique and popular flat bread that he calls regañadas, which he makes with the same dough as his filled empanaditas. Regañadas, he explains, are like a flat tortilla that is baked (not fried) and covered in red sugar.

Zimatlan also specializes in cinnamon-flavored chamucos, which are decorated with colored pasta dough on top similar to a concha.

Many unique types and flavors of pan dulce are prepared every day at Lola’s Market in Santa Rosa, California, where there is a highly diversified customer base with many of Hispanic origins, as well as other cultures.

“We have a more diverse customer base, and people are eating differently than we first opened,” says David Ortega, the owner of Lola’s, which operates six locations in Northern California.  “Many people are trying to eat healthier.”

Also appealing to the health-oriented consumer, Rica Panadería in San Jose, California, has started selling more cema de trigo, a bread made with wheat flour, eggs and milk. Another wheat bread at Rica Panadería is known as picon, which also has sugar as an ingredient, so it is slightly sweet.

“We make a variety of breads with different flavors for many types of occasions,” says Estella Ortiz, who owns Rica Panadería with her husband, Jesus.