Sweet Mexican Pan de Muerto

Sweet Mexican Pan de Muerto


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This moist Mexican bread with a sugary topping is known in English as the "Bread of the Dead," baked in celebration of the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). While the bread is typically topped with a cross, you can sculpt a tennis-ball-sized piece of dough into shapes of your choice to press onto the loaf before baking.

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Serving Size / Yield

1 loaf


  • 6 Tbs. Butter, divided
  • 1/4 C. 2% Milk
  • 3 C. All-Purpose Flour, divided, plus additional for surface dusting
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar, plus additional for topping
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. Orange Zest

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 4 Tbs. of butter and the milk with 1/4 cup of water, and warm through. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 C. of flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and 1/4 C. of sugar. Slowly beat in the warm milk mixture. Add the eggs and orange zest, and continue beating until well-combined. Add the rest of the flour in 1/2 cup increments until a soft dough forms. Place the dough on a surface dusted with flour, and knead until smooth. Lightly grease a large bowl with vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl, flipping once to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled. Punch the dough down and shape it into a round loaf. Cover with a damp cloth again and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden-brown. After baking, while bread is still warm, melt the remaining 2 Tbs. of butter. Brush the warm bread with the melted butter. Sprinkle the loaf with sugar.

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