The biggest single sales day for many panaderías across the country arrives on January 6, a well-known holiday known as the Epiphany.
The date is a public holiday in many countries and marks two events in Jesus Christ’s life, according to the Christian Bible. The first event involved the three wise men, or kings, visiting infant Jesus. The second event marks when St John the Baptist baptized Jesus.
The traditional Mexican bread known as Rosca de Reyes is formed into the shape of a ring (or also the crown) that represents the wise men’s search for the baby Jesus.
Two styles of Rosca have been popularized. One is the traditional.
“We make the traditional style of Rosca,” explains Maricela Arellano, who started their family bakery business, La Purisima Bakery, 39 years ago with her husband, Juan. “We make the Rosca with traditional colors and one baby.”
A small plastic figurine is placed inside the Rosca bread prior to cutting. This figurine represents baby Jesus. It is considered to be good luck if the figurine is in the slice you receive.
La Purisima operates two retail bakeries – one in Phoenix and one in the suburb of Glendale, Arizona.
Other panaderias 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 on the masa, and it has a really good taste.”
The cake, shaped as a large ring (roscón), is basically an egg-rich brioche dough with butter and quite a lot of sugar. The standard flavorings are dark rum, grated orange zest and orange blossom water.
Rosca means “wreath” 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 the baby Jesus, and whoever is served the piece of cake containing the baby must host a party in February to celebrate Dia de la Candelaria. This day brings the official close to the holiday season.
With BakeMark’s help, you can help create an Epiphany to remember for all customers. You can start with Trigal Dorado Bizcocho Mix from BakeMark to whip up the Rosca de Reyes itself. BakeMark also has the acitron strips that traditionally adorn the top of the cake in its Trigal Dorado line.
Alternative versions of Rosca are created by bakers with various goals in mind.
Some swap sweet wine for the rum, extra virgin olive oil for the butter, and dried fig compote for the candied cherries. A few add cardamom seeds.
One interesting variation made by one baker involves half of the ring as “savory,” for toast or sandwiches, and the other half split and filled with whipped cream and figs.
Any types of variations offer opportunities to expand the appeal of your bakery products to younger customers, in particular.