Pan de Muerto Recipe (Bread of the Dead)
½ cup butter
½ cup milk
½ cup water
5 cups of flour
2 packages dried yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
½ cup sugar
Heat the butter, milk and water in a saucepan over medium flame until very warm but not boiling. Meanwhile measure out 1 ½ cups flour and set the rest aside. In a large mixing bowl combine the 1 ½ cups flour, yeast, salt and anise seed and sugar. Beat in the warm liquid until well combined. Add the eggs and beat in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding more flour until the dough is soft but not sticky. Knead on lightly floured board for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Lightly grease a bowl and place dough in it, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours. Punch the dough down and shape into loaves resembling skulls, skeletons or round loaves with “bones” placed ornamentally on the top. Let these loaves rise for 1 hour.
Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and paint on glaze.
For glaze, you’ll need:
⅓ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest.
Bring this mixture to a boil for two minutes, and then apply to bread with a pastry brush. If desired, sprinkle on colored sugar while glaze is still damp.
“Pan de Muerto recipe.” Tucson Citizen. October 27, 2004. Page E1.