Pan de Muerto is a sweetened, soft bread shaped like a bun, often decorated with bone-shaped phalanges pieces. Pan de Muerto, also known as Pan de los Muertos, is traditionally baked in Mexico during the weeks leading up to Dia de los Muertos, which is celebrated on November 1 and 2. It is then eaten on our loved ones altar or gravesite as part of the celebration, as well as some of their favorite foods. Below is a recipe you can make to join in on the celebration!
Ingredients: 1/4 cup margarine, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C), 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons anise seed, 1/4 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, beaten, 2 teaspoons orange zest, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 2 tablespoons white sugar
1. Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add the warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.