When he was growing up in Mexico City, chef Alfredo Solis enjoyed Pan de los Muertos at his aunt’s annual Dia de los Muertos feast.
Bring all ingredients to room temperature and ensure that water is slightly warm. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, anise, salt, and 1/2 cup of flour. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and the water.
Add the egg and water mixture to the flour mixture along with an additional 1/2 cup of flour. Add the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour.
Continue to add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough forms. Knead on a floured surface for about 1 minute.
Cover with a slightly damp dishcloth and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Bring out dough and punch it down.
Remove about one quarter of the dough and use it to make a cross shapes to place across the loaf (symbolizing bones), or you can divide the dough into smaller pieces to create other shapes as desired.
Allow the shaped dough to rise for an additional hour. Then bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Allow the bread to cool before applying any glaze, sprinkled sugar or decorative toppings.
The chef recommends serving this with Chocolate Abuelita.