Pan de Muerto is the traditional bread/cake served on November 2nd in Mexico and some parts of South America to celebrate the Day of the Dead. While some compare this holiday to Halloween, its actually very different. It is not a scary holiday, rather a holiday to remember and honor those friends and relatives who have died. There are often parades where a coffin is carried through the streets, and family members spend the evening in the cemetery scrubbing the gravestones and cleaning up around the graves of their departed relatives.
The dough for this slightly sweet bread/cake can be made quickly and easily in the automatic bread machine: just dump in the simple ingredients, turn it to the dough cycle, and wait until it beeps, a signal that its time to shape and decorate the loaf. Pan de Muerto, which is flavored with orange and anise, can be formed into small individual loaves or one large loaf. It makes a delicious bread or dessert for a brunch or breakfast buffet.
1 12 loaf, about 24 slices
1 cup water
1/4 cup dry milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 to 4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon anise seed
Zest from the orange
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 cup sugar
Juice from the orange
- Wash and dry the orange.
- Using a Microplane or fine grater, grate the zest from the orange.
- Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into a microwaveable container; set aside for the glaze.
- Place the dough ingredients in the order given into the pan of the automatic bread machine.
- Turn the machine to the dough setting and start.
- After 5 minutes of mixing, check to see that the dough forms a soft ball. If the ball is too soft, add a little more flour; if it's too stiff, add a little more water and start the cycle over.
- Meanwhile, mix the juice (about 1/3 cup) from the orange with the 1/2 cup sugar.
- Microwave 2-3 minutes or until boiling; stir until the sugar is dissolved.
- Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken.
- When the dough cycle has finished, transfer the dough to a floured pastry cloth.
- Cut off about 1/8 of the dough and set aside.
- Form the remaining dough into a disc about 8-10" in diameter and 1" thick.
- Place the disc on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- With a knife, score (about 1/4" deep) the disc into quarters.
- Squeeze a piece of the reserved dough into a ball about 1".
- Brush the bread with water and press the ball into the center of the dough.
- Cut the remaining dough into four strips; form each strip into a bone shape, and press into the scores of the bread, brushing with additional water if necessary to make the bones stick.
- Cover with a non-terry towel and let rise until double in bulk, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- When the dough has risen, brush with water and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and immediately brush with the glaze. Keep brushing until most of the glaze has been used.
- Sprinkle with colored sugar or other decorations, if desired.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 116 Calories from Fat 8
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 7% Protein 12% Carb. 82%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 27 mg
Sodium 112 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 7 g
Protein 3 g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 9% Calcium 0% Iron 3%