Keep a Sweet Tradition Alive with Day of the Dead Bread

Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos the traditional way! Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos the traditional way! The Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) is on Nov. 1, and this particular recipe is very special to me because I only make it once a year. The passion for honoring our loved ones reflects in vivid colors, bold flavors, pleasant aromas and compelling stories that remind us of those we've lost. My family gathers on this special night and eats pan de muerto with a cup of champurrado or strong black Oaxacan coffee. Enjoy!

Pan de Muerto

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
For Glaze
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
For Garnish
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Related: 17 muffins you can make better than the bakery!


1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk and butter, whisking together until butter melts. Remove from heat and add warm water.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, anise, salt and 1/4 cup sugar. Add warm milk mixture, orange blossom water and orange zest and mix with hands; adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time until dough becomes soft and all 3 cups of flour have been added.

3. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth.

4. Lightly grease a large bowl and place kneaded dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours. Place covered bowl in a warm area. The dough will double in size.

5. Take a handful of dough and set aside. Shape a round loaf with the rest of the dough and place on a greased baking tray. Shape a small knot and 2 strips of dough with the handful of dough. Place the strips on top of the loaf forming a cross and the knot (ball) in the middle of the cross. Loosely cover the loaf with plastic wrap and let rest for approximately 1 hour in warm place. The loaf will double in size.

6. Preheat oven to 350°F.

7. Bake loaf for 40 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

8. For glaze: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest and bring to boil. Brush bread evenly with glaze and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

- By Ericka Sanchez

For 17 more Day of the Dead recipes to try at home, visit Spoonful!

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