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Mexican Bread of the Dead

Pan De Muerto
Mexican Bread of the Dead (Pan De Muerto)
Courtesy of Cacique

Pan De Muerto is a traditional Mexican sweet bread roll baked during the weeks leading up to Día de los Muertos, which is celebrated between October 31 and November 2. It is decorated with pieces representing skull and bones, and is placed on the altar as an offering to honor deceased souls during Day of the Dead celebrations.

Recipe courtesy of Cacique

Ready in
4 h and 45 m
4 h
(prepare time)
45 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


For the Bread

  • 1/2 Cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana Agria
  • 1/4 Cup butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 Cup warm water
  • Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon anise seeds, ground
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 Cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Teaspoons orange zest

For the Glaze

  • 1/4 Cup white sugar
  • 1/4 Cup orange juice
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar (for sprinkling)


For the Bread

In a medium saucepan, over low heat warm the Cacique® Crema Mexicana Agria and the butter, until the butter melts.

Remove from the heat and stir in the warm water.

The mixture should be around 110°F.

Set aside.

If using a heavy duty mixer use the hook attachment or mix by hand using a wooden spoon.

In a large bowl combine 1 cup of flour, yeast, salt, ground anise seeds, cinnamon and ¼ cup of sugar.

Slowly add the warm cream mixture, mix until incorporated, add ½ cup of flour and the eggs and orange zest, and mix until well combined.

Stir in ½ cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a lightly greased large bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

This will take about 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and set aside ¼ of the dough, shape the remaining ¾ of the dough into a large round loaf.

Take the set aside ¼ dough and remove a large pinch of dough and roll into a small round meatball sized ball (set aside), with the balance of the dough make 2 bone shapes.

Lay the bone shapes across the top of the loaf, making an X pattern, and place the round dough ball on top.

Place the loaf on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for 1 more hour or until just about doubled in size.

Preheat oven at 350°F and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until the bread is golden.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly, then brush with glaze.

For the Glaze

In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest.

Bring to a boil over medium heat for 2 minutes.

Brush over top of bread while still warm.

Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.