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Liven Up Your Dia De Los Muertos With Pan De Muerto


Halloween is coming next week and that means that Dia de los Muertos is right around the corner. This is the day that we Latinos celebrate and remember our dearly departed ancestors by eating, drinking, and decorating with skulls. This holiday is particularly big in Mexico, where millions of people will be visiting their family’s graves for good times and plenty of sweets. The most quintessential Mexican Dia De Los Muertos food is the sugar skull…but that’s too hard to make. Instead, we’re going to teach you to make the second most quintessential Dia De Los Muertos food: Pan de Muerto. This sweet bread with fun skull shapes just goes to show that we have a weird and humorous outlook on life and death.

Pan de Muerto

1/2 Cup of butter. Use unsalted butter. You can replace with margarine if you are a weenie

1/2 Cup of milk

1/3 Cup of warm water. Not hot, not cold, warm

5 Cups of flour

2 Packets of dry yeast

1/2 Tsp of salt. Sea salt gives it a nice kick

1 Tbsp of anise seed

1/2 Cup of brown sugar

1 Tbsp of white sugar

4 Eggs

1/3 Cup of OJ. The juice, not the murderer

2 Tsp of Orange zest

Heat the milk, butter, and water in a saucepan until the butter is melted. It should be hot but not boiling. Pour one cup of flour, the anise seed, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add the milk/butter mixture and blend until well mixed. You may be tempted to drink the milk/butter mixture, but that will block you up in ways Drano can’t even fix. Next add the eggs and mix them in well. Then add cups of flour one at a time, mixing each cup in well before adding another. Mix it until it is smooth and free of lumps. Kneed the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is a nice round ball and pliable. The key to good baking is not to over kneed the bread. It can become too hard if you do that. Lightly oil a separate bowl and put the the dough ball inside. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for about two hours. Through the wonders of magic and science, it will grow to twice its original size. After it has grown, smash it back down, crushing its dreams. Cut of a small piece of the dough. Shape the dough into an oval shape or, if you’re bold, into a skull shape. Then fashion the piece of dough you cut off into little crossed leg bones and skulls, and lay them on top of the larger loaf. Let it rise for one hour. This is a good time to drink a shot and pour one out for your dead relatives. We still love you Abuelo! Preheat oven to 370, and bake the loaf on a pizza stone or greased cookie sheet for about 40 minutes or until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it. While that’s baking, put the brown sugar, orange juice, and orange zest in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. When you pull the loaf out of the oven, paint the glaze on the loaf. If you want to, add some colored sugar on top to make it even more festive and diabetic unfriendly!

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