Day of the Dead Bread | Pan de Muerto

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Day of the Dead Bread | Pan de Muerto
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The Day of the Dead holiday is a time of so much creative inspiration.  The passion for honoring our loved ones reflects in vivid colors, bold flavors, pleasant aromas and compelling stories that remind us of the loved ones we have lost.  This year, a group of very talented friends and I decided to create something we hold dear and near to our hearts.  This special project combines our love for this celebration and the passions that keep us alive each and every day. Ofrendas: Celebrating Dia de Los Muertos is our new e-book publication with traditional and non-traditional Dia de Muertos recipes and crafts. This collaboration includes recipes for Mexican candies, Aztec soup, and others such as my Day of the Dead bread recipe.   Crafts include lots of candy skeletons, a tea towel and a fun sugar skull mask to create with your children.  

This particular recipe is very special to me because I only make it once a year and is enjoyed on November 2 just like a cake would.  My family gathers on this special night and enjoys this special recipe with a cup of champurrado or strong black Oaxacan coffee.  Enjoy!

What you'll need

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon anise seed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • For Glaze
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • For Garnish
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

How to make it

  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 ¼ cup sugar.  Add warm milk mixture, orange blossom water and orange zest and mix with hands; adding ½ 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 ¼ cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest and bring to boil.   Brush bread evenly with glaze and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

    Read more of Ericka's blog at Nibbles and Feasts!
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