Pan de Muerto {Day of the Dead Bread}

Today, we are celebrating Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico.  Colorful altars are built in memory of deceased friends and/or family members.  The altars are decorated with candles, flowers and offerings of food for the deceased.  One of the most popular food offerings is Pan de Muerto

Pan de Muerto is a delicious sweet bread with a light orange flavor.  I have tasted many a Pan de Muerto.  Not all Pan de Muerto recipes are the same.  Some have a strong anise flavor.  Others have a hard outer crust.  My recipe is just how I like my Pan de Muerto and I hope you will enjoy it.

Pan De Muerto


  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • Sugar

In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the salt and the yeast.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter until very warm. (About 120º F)  Pour into flour mixture.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute, 

Add the eggs, the orange extract and the grated orange zest.  Beat for 1 minute,  Beat in an additional 1cup of flour just until combined.

Using a wooden spoon to stir, add enough remaining flour until dough forms a ball.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl.  Turn greased side up; cover and let set 1 hour or until double in size.

Remove a large handful of dough, plus a tablespoon sized piece of dough and set aside. Form remaining dough into a circle.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Divide the handful of dough into 6 equal parts shape into 4-inch rope.  Roll rope with your fingers open to achieve this effect. 

Position ropes on top of the circle of dough.  Roll tablespoon of dough into a ball and center on top of dough.  Cover and let rest for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Brush dough with melted butter.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown.  (Mine isn't as golden because my oven isn't hot enough.)  Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle granulated sugar all over the bread. (If you have kids, they can help with this step.  Just make sure they don't smoosh the bread!  Oops!)  Enjoy!!!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

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1 comment

  1. Thanks for this one, Leslie! It sounds like fun. I love to make bread. One of these days when we get an oven, I can get back to baking.