O.K. Let’s talk about one of my favorite things to eat this time of year….Pan de Muerto. It is always a part of my Dia de los Muertos celebration, both on my ancestor altar and in the stomachs of those who celebrate the holiday with me. There are a number of recipes for this sweet, fragrant bread but this is my version which turns out beautifully every time I make it. Some place dough “bones” on the top of this bread but I keep mine simple. You can make it ahead and freeze it but put the orange sugar glaze on it AFTER it thaws. It also makes mind-blowing French toast the next day! Enjoy!
Pan de Muerto, “Bread of the Dead”
From Globalgourmet.com Adapted by David Eck
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
5 1/2 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 T. whole anise seed
2 T grated orange zest
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
In a saucepan over medium flame, heat the butter, milk and water until very warm but not boiling. [100-110 F degrees]
Meanwhile, measure out 1 1/2 cups flour and set the rest aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour, yeast, salt, anise seed, orange zest and sugar. Beat the warm liquid until well combined. Add the eggs and beat in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding more flour until 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 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and shape into 4 loaves resembling skulls, skeletons or round loaves with “bones” placed ornamentally around the top if desired. Let these loaves rise for 1 hour.
Bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool and paint on glaze.
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then apply to bread with a pastry brush. If desired, sprinkle on colored or regular sugar while glaze is still damp.
You can buy anise seed in the bulk spice section of Fresh Market. It’s very reasonably priced there. You can use rapid rise yeast in this recipe which may cut down on the rising time. Keep an eye on it. You can also make this recipe in a mixer with a dough hook.
Copyright ©2016 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com