Skip to main content

Pan De Muertos

In my family November 1st is known as "All Saints Day" but for Isabel it was her day to make "Bread of the dead". I recall her telling me that she got into the habit soon after she started dating a man from Mexico named Anton and was trying to please him by making his mom’s Pan de Muertos. From what I understood, she came very close but any married woman will tell you that there are dishes that only "his" mom will ever get right.

Well, I knew I would not be able to replicate the exact same bread that Isabel used to do, much like she had not been able to make hers exactly like Anton’s mom. She had only given me spoken instructions for this bread and I was a little worried to mess it up so I did an online search and found a recipe that looked very close. The breads are usually shaped into rolls having the shape of bones or limbs and glazed with a light orange sugar syrup. I wanted these for dinner tonight so I skipped the glazing part, I might use it for the remaining rolls tomorrow morning. As you can see I have also skipped shaping the buns into bones and such, a little too morbid for me.

Pan De Muertos, adapted from Global Gourmet:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs

In a saucepan over medium flame, heat the butter, milk and water until very warm but not boiling.
Meanwhile, measure out 1-1/2 cups flour and set the rest aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1-1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and sugar. Beat in the warm liquid until well combined. Add the eggs and beat in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding more flour until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead on lightly floured board for ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
Lightly grease a bowl and place dough in it, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape into loaves resembling skulls, skeletons or round loaves with "bones" placed ornamentally around the top. Let these loaves rise for 1 hour.
Bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and paint on glaze.

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest

Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then apply to bread with a pastry brush.
If desired, sprinkle on colored sugar while glaze is still damp.

Related Posts

Similar Articles


Jen November 2, 2006 um 7:44 am

I don’t stop by for a few days and look what you have done, you’ve completely outdone yourself! The ice cream, those cookies and now this gorgeous bread. Aaarggh it’s all too much goodness!

Anonymous November 2, 2006 um 1:09 pm

Ces bons petits pains, et quelle histoire interessante. Je crois qu’ils sont trognons juste comme cela, sans glacage.

Anonymous November 2, 2006 um 1:26 pm

oh, those brown little buns look adorable, and I can just imagine they’d be delicious straight out of the oven with a smattering of butter!

Anonymous November 2, 2006 um 3:19 pm

looks great! the anise I bet adds just a lil' something extra to this bread.

wheresmymind November 2, 2006 um 3:51 pm

I want some dead bread for lunch 😀

Anonymous November 2, 2006 um 3:53 pm

The rolls look good… would love to have seen the bone shapes… you could have given them out as treats on halloween!

Anonymous November 3, 2006 um 2:21 pm

Jenjen: look a you! You are eating and drinking your way through great foods! I am enjoying your posts.

Bea: ils etaient parfaits comme ca avec le dinner mais j’avoue que le glacage etait bien bon au petit dej.

Ellie: everything tastes better with butter…really!

Monisha: you are right, the anise seeds added a great bite.

wheresmymind: really, where is it! you are as always too funny.

BrunO; I tried to shape them but I guess my mind was in the gutter that afternoon because none of the shape was Halloween kids appropriate….!

Anonymous December 14, 2006 um 6:44 pm

je viens de decouvrir cette recette et donc ton blog via un lien sur papilles et pupilles, ben j’aurais jamais du cliquer !!! j’ai trouve trop de bonnes recettes a tester !! a commencer par celle-ci, que je vais faire des demain je crois bien ;o)

Write a Comment