Pan de Muertos Bread
Ingredients
Directions
For the Dough
3 c
all-purpose flour
Jump
2 tsp
instant yeast
Jump
0.5 c
milk, microwaved for about 20 seconds—until lukewarm but not hot
Jump
0.25 c
butter, softened
Jump
0.33 c
sugar
Jump
2 lg
eggs
Jump
0.5 tsp
salt
Jump
0.5 tsp
ground anise seed
Jump
1 tsp
ground cinnamon
Jump
1 tsp
orange zest
Jump
For the Topping
2 tbsp
butter, melted
Jump
2 tbsp
white or colored sugar
Jump
0.5 tsp
ground cinnamon
Jump
Pan de Muertos Bread

This is a sweet yeast bread, so it will take time to rise. The heart shape has been modified to a simple round bread with crosses of dough draped over the top to resemble bones and a small ball of dough on top to emulate a skull. Some people may find making the bones challenging, but they don’t have to be perfect. Refrigerating the dough used to make the skull and bone pieces helps them retain their shape.

1 large or 3 small breads

  1. Mix together all of the dough ingredients, then knead on a lightly floured surface until a smooth dough forms, about 1-2 minutes. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with a clean, slightly damp dishcloth, and let rise for 90 minutes.
  2. Separate 1/4 of the dough, put it in another bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
  3. Shape the remaining dough into either one large ball or three smaller balls that are approximately the size of large dinner rolls. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cover again with the dishcloth and let rise for another 90 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough you placed in the refrigerator. Break it into small pieces and shape it into a slightly flattened ball for the “skull” and long rope-like pieces for the bones. Refrigerate the skull and dough pieces for another 10 minutes, then drape the ropes over the bread to form a cross, pinching them at 1/2-inch intervals to make them look gnarled. Place the skull piece on top where the bones cross.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Bake until golden brown and springy, about 20-25 minutes for the smaller breads and 30-35 minutes for the larger loaf. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with a thin layer of melted butter. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle by hand over the top of the bread. Let cool completely before serving.

Recipe by Jackie Alpers

Jackie Alpers

Jackie Alpers is an award-winning food photographer and the author of Sprinkles!: Recipes and Ideas for Rainbowlicious Desserts (Quirk Books 2013). For more recipes, visit her blog, JackiesHappyPlate.com.

[email_signup id="3"]
[email_signup id="3"]