Mona- Valencian Easter Bread

The indecisive weather confuses the first weeks of spring. After lunch, the sun gently prevails with its warm glow and brings the relief of knowing that winter is over. While crossing the bridge over the river, one can see an ethereal haze covering thickets of reeds. The late afternoon light rests on this set of plants, determined to live by the water and paints the landscape with the colour between yellow and green like that of the melons. In its gentle movement, the water shines like an embroidered silk mantle. Suddenly the tranquillity of the road is interrupted by a group of young cyclists who, with fluorescent suits, cycling at considerable speed, resemble a flock of birds, disappearing as soon as they had come.  

In the town, two older men talk about the weather. They are seated in their chairs in front of the threshold of a house enjoying the last hours of the afternoon while watching the passage of any passer-by and then interrupting their speech and following the path of the occasional walker with inquisitive glances. The church bell rings every hour and two elegant ladies pass very close, leaving the floral fragrance of some expensive perfume in the air.

Upon arrival, the stone steps of the shop harmonize with the polished wood of the property's door. Crossing the entrance is enough to seduce the senses. The air on the premises is warm and smells of good chocolate. From the back comes the fragrance of pastries and bread. Then the mind begins the process of predisposition: the taste and the imagination, detecting nuances and smells that it would not otherwise be possible to distinguish. A lady comes to take the order when the guilt consummates: the original idea of going for a coffee develops into a determined decision. The established coffee turns into a thick, steaming, dark and hot chocolate. Behind the glass of the fridge, various types of delicacies of several colours and shapes indifferently await the arrival of their buyers. Above it, several chocolate eggs of many sizes rest together with rabbits, hares and hens created from the same dark element and the skills of some master chocolatier. next to it, a large and wide tray contains the ideal company for the requested hot drink: the monas de Pascua, and being days before Easter, it is impossible to avoid the opportunity to start the Holy Week.

A few minutes later, the requested gift arrives at the table. Next to the steaming cups of creamy chocolate, on a silver metal tray, presides the Mona Valenciana, darkly golden, with her shiny caramel-gloss skin and crowned by egg. This bun and its simple appearance and ingredients give us a profusion of old and fresh sensations, aromas and flavours. It recalls past times, regional tradition, the hands of its people, the simplicity of its towns and the richness of its customs. Religious, medieval and regal.

A careful but determined first bite penetrates its airy smoothness, a crumb made of air bubbles trapped by the magic of yeast and flour, light as a cloud of sugary vapour. In the mouth, the encounter is immediate, its sweet caramelized crust, covered with granules of sugar that burst against the palate, completing that blend of harmonic flavours united to remind us of feasts and consummate moments of celebration.

The evening breeze played with the curtains of the half-open window. The last ray of sunlight gleamed for a few seconds on the edge of the empty platter. On the table were tiny crumbs and two white cups with traces of chocolate.


Gastronomy always continues to evolve, but then always comes a time when nostalgia for the good things enjoyed outweighs curiosity for new things to come. Feeding is for the body, but eating is for the soul.

During the 19th century, the fashion of making chocolate eggs and putting a gift inside spread from central Europe, mainly Germany, part of France and northern Italy. It soon became popular among Russian Christians, who began to do so during the period of Easter. Before the introduction of this custom, decorated hard-boiled eggs were used.

The mona de Pascua, which is practically the same as the panquemado, is typical throughout the Valencian Community. Sweet buns are typical of all Holy Week but specifically Easter Monday, and the custom of going out to the countryside to eat it with the family, which is why it is known as "Mona's Day". 

Alberic has in his possession a parchment that recognized in 1905 the baker Ramón González Torres the title of "Provider of the Royal House of HM King D. Alfonso XIII". What distinguishes it from the rest of the towns is the “caramull”, the egg white beaten before cooking, which gives Alberic's panquemado its characteristics.

Ingredients (makes 2 big buns)

Starter or pre-ferment (Prepare 8 hours in advance)

Dissolve 10g. of fresh yeast with 60ml of water at room temperature or just lukewarm. Add 100g of strong flour and form a paste. Let stand covered overnight (about 8 hours)



Fresh Yeast






Extra virgin olive oil PROMESA



1 pinch


Around 80 to 100ml

Grated orange zest

1 orange

Optionally lemon can be used

Orange blossom water

1 Tablespoon


To decorate:

1 beaten egg to brush the monas, 2 hard-boiled eggs and some sugar (can be caster sugar, pearl sugar or hundreds and thousands).


  1. Sift the flour by passing it through a sieve, make a hollow centre
  2. Add the starter (already prepared) and the yeast diluted in slightly lukewarm milk
  3. Incorporate all the other ingredients indicated for the dough
  4. Form a well-kneaded dough. It can be done in a machine with the dough hook or manually in a large bowl or straight on a wooden board
  5. Once achieved a homogeneous dough, leave to rise covered at room temperature until doubled in size
  6. Then split in two and form two equal buns
  7. Place them in an oven tray covered with baking paper with some space in between to let them grow in the oven
  8. Make a deep hole with your fingers in the centre of each bun where we will place the hard-boiled egg
  9. Leave to proof covered for about an hour
  10. Brush the monas with beaten egg to achieve a good golden brown during the baking process
  11. Sprinkle generously with the chosen sugar for the decoration
  12. Bake them in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees until they have a perfect golden colour and they are well baked


– Strength flour is the one that contains high percentage of protein, normally above 10%, thus helping the development of gluten and achieving a good structure. 

It is better to try to have the eggs at room temperature for at least half an hour. If this is not possible, they can be quickly warmed up for 5 minutes in a container of barely warm, almost lukewarm water.

The amount of milk indicates 80 to 100ml, this depends on the amount needed by the dough, the weather of the day, the humidity and the type of flour. It is better to put 80ml and if necessary add a little more during kneading. It can be replaced with another type of milk or just with water. 

– If dry yeast is used instead of fresh, 3g will be needed for the starter and 7g. for the main dough. We should always multiply approximately by 3 when converting from dry to fresh and divide by 3 when converting from fresh to dry.

For example 5g. dry powdered yeast = 15g. of fresh baker's yeast

                       21g. of fresh baker's yeast = 7g. of dry powdered yeast

The hard-boiled egg can be optionally replaced with whipped egg whites with a little bit of sugar

– Otra tecnica de leudado utilizada es el leudado en frío: Once the dough is formed, it is proofed at room temperature (always covered) up to double. Then it goes to the fridge for 2 hours. Once this process is done, they are gently deflated to remove the gas, they are shaped and back in the cold for about 12 hours. Then they should rest at room temperature for about 2-3 hours (no longer) and baked. This system is ideal for preparing them in advance.