Pan de Muerto

Dia de los Muertos is a time to reflect and remember all the happy memories you have with your loved ones who have passed away, and take the time to share stories.

You don’t have to visit their gravestone to do this – you can celebrate and honor them in your home and build a home altar or simply make traditional Mexican recipes like this pan de muerto, also known as bread of the dead.

This year I hosted an intimate and elegant party with a handful of girlfriends and for dessert served this sweet, buttery bread. This traditional round loaf of bread has strips of dough rolled out and attached on top to resemble bones.

I made three small loaves instead of one large loaf. This bread is too special and having some leftovers for breakfast is such a treat with a smear of butter and a hot cup of coffee. Day-old bread also makes great French toast.

I decorated my dining table with traditional and brightly embroidered Mexican textiles, vibrant and aromatic flowers, glistening candles, and ceramic skulls.

We listened to Latin music, sipped hot chocolate, passed around family photos, talked about our departed loved ones, as we all enjoyed the wonderful company and delicious dishes.

¡Buen provecho y feliz Día de los Muertos!

Pan de Muerto

A Dia de los Muertos fiesta is not complete without the sweet, buttery bread, pan de muerto (bread of the dead). This traditional round loaf of bread has strips of dough rolled out and attached on top to resemble bones. This bread is traditionally eaten and left on gravesites or on altars as part of the festivities.

Ingredients:

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water (about 125°)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup Country Crock® Buttery Sticks, melted
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds or anise seed
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon colored sugar or granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine yeast with warm water in medium bowl and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk, whole eggs and melted Country Crock® Buttery Sticks; set aside.
  2. Sift flour, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl. Stir in fennel seeds. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Stir yeast mixture into flour mixture with a wooden spoon until dough forms. Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet or a little more milk if it is too dry.
  3. Knead on lightly floured surface until dough is smooth but slightly sticky, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to large, lightly greased bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray baking sheet with no-stick spray. Knead dough on lightly floured surface 3 minutes. Cut about 1/5 of the dough off; reserve. Shape remaining dough into a round loaf on prepared baking sheet. Roll reserved dough into a thick rope, then cut into 5 portions. Roll one portion into a ball and arrange it on top of the round loaf. Roll remaining 4 balls into ropes with knobby ends resembling ''bones''. Arrange ''bones'' around loaf. Cover loosely and let it rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Beat egg white with water, then brush loaf with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 35 minutes or until top is lightly golden brown. Remove to wire rack and cool.
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Photography: Jenna Sparks / Styling & Décor: Thrifty Rehab / Table Runner: Nativa Shop / Wardrobe Styling: Fashion Forward / Hair & Makeup: 5280 Stylist MUA