Pan de Muerto is a traditional Halloween Mexican Bread (Pan of the Dead). The shape of the bread resembles a bone or skeleton. The bread is flavored with orange zest and extract. It’s really soft and fluffy when baked and sprinkled with lots of sugar. Mexican love to fill it with nutella, or cheese or orange marmalade. Its yummy!
Pan De Muerto Recipe
1 stick butter (4 oz. or ½ cup)
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups flour (750g)
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cups warm water
2 tablespoon orange extract
4 ½ teaspoon instant dry yeast (or 2 packets)
3 tablespoons orange zest (optional)
*if orange extract is not available, use orange juice/tang/8’oclock/minutemaid and replace ¼ cup water with juice instead.
Optional Filling: Cheese Cubes or Orange Marmalade
1. First bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup of the flour and mix.
2. In second bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and orange zest.
3. Add the two mixture in bowls, along with another ½ cup of flour. Mix well until combined.
4. Add the yeast and another ½ cup of flour, mixing to combine.
5. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing between additions, until a dough forms.
6. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 1-2 minutes. Dust with little flour if needed.
7. Once done, transfer into an oiled bowl and brush a little oil on top of the dough. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and let rise in a warm area for about 1 hour and 30 minutes
8. Once the dough has risen, transfer the dough back into the working table. Knead and dust. Roll the dough into an elongated tube and divide equally into 4 section.
9. Separate about ¼ of the dough and use it to make bone shapes to drape across the loaf. Make 9 pcs tube (3 bones per bread). Shape the rest of the dough into 3 flat-bottomed semi-sphere.
10. Brush with little water underneath and position like a cross position. 2 elongated bone shapes about 3″ in length place on top of each loaf and damp with little water and press gently so they adhere.
11. Transfer into a lined greased tray. Let the dough rise for an additional hour.
12. Bake the loaf over 170°C/340°F (traditional oven) for about 30-40 minutes.
*If using an electric oven you must lower the oven temperature to about 140-150°C. Electric ovens can bake quickly and can toast the dough easily. You may need to switch the oven heat in halfway through cooking or change oven racks from bottom to center.
13. Once the loaf is golden brown, remove from oven to cool. Glaze with butter/Marmalade and sprinkle with sugar on top before serving.
Makes 3 pans