Day of the Dead Recipe: Pan de Muerto

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By Gabriela from Gabriela’s Kitchen
Since November 1st and 2nd are believed to be the easiest days for mis muertos queridos (my departed loved ones) to visit and take pleasure in earthly delights, I will light candles and set out fragrant marigolds to guide their way, bake delicious pan de muerto to satisfy their stomachs and set out a glass of water to quench their thirst.
I hope all of the saints and all of the souls enjoy this pan de muerto. (I usually bake a few extra loaves to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea and plan on slicing a loaf or two for French Toast.)
Pan de muerto is a sweet egg bread (think a crumbly brioche) that can be flavored with fragrant anise, orange zest and cinnamon. It is decorated with bone shaped pieces of dough and sprinkled with sparkling sugar.
Ingredients:
4 c. flour (3 3/4 c. flour +1/4 c. flour)
3/4 c. sugar + 1 Tbs. Sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 Tbs. yeast
3/4 c. milk
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
zest of one orange (optional)
1/2 tsp. anise seed (optional)
plus 1 egg for a wash, and extra sugar for dusting
Instructions:
1. In a large bowl combine milk, yeast, orange zest, 1/4 c. flour and 1 Tbs. sugar. Let stand for 30 minutes then add the three gently beaten eggs.
2. In a separate bowl combine 3 3/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. sugar, salt, cinnamon and anise. Add this flour mixture to the wet mixture, kneading with your hands (at this point the dough will feel very sticky, kneed until it is only slightly sticky. You may add an extra teaspoon of flour at a time if needed.)
3. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Add the butter to the dough working it until fully incorporated. Shape into a ball, grease and lightly flour. Place in bowl and cover with a damp towel to rise for two hours.
4. Separate dough into six parts. Shape five into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Decorate the tops of the rolls with the remaining dough by rolling the dough into coils and strips that look like bones.
5. Allow the bread to rise for an additional hour in a warm place. Brush tops of bread with egg white and dust with sugar. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Thanks to Gabriela’s Kitchen for this fantastic recipe!

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