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Pan de Muerto

Servings 15 small breads
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins


  • Electric Mixer (optional)
  • 3 baking trays
  • parchment paper
  • cooking brush


  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter to room temperature
  • 25 g fresh yeast or 12 g instant yeast
  • 65 ml warm milk
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tbsp orange zest

To finish

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 30 g melted unsalted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp milk


  • Before start, remember to take your eggs and butter a few hours in advance so they are to room temperature.
  • Start by mixing the yeast with the warm milk and one tea spoon of sugar. Leave to activate for 7 minutes. Until it has lots of bubbles.
  • Mix the flour and the sugar. Place this mix on the worktop and make a whole in the middle. Beat the eggs and add the orange bloosom and orange zest. Pour this in the hole of the flour and sugar, then add the yeast and milk mixture and start mixing. Then add the butter.
  • Mix all very well and work the dough until it doesnt stick on your hand. It might take around 15 minutes.If you have an electric mixer, this would speed this process, just add all the ingredients and turn the mixer in the lowest setting and mix for 10 minutes.
  • Once your dough is ready, oil a large bowl and place your dough there and cover it with cling film and leave it in the warmest place of your kitchen. This is going to be the first proving of the bread. Prove for an hour or until the dough has double in size.
  • Remove the cling film and hit it with your fist to. Take it out of the bowl and work it a bit more. Use some flour if it is sticking on the worktop. Then separate the dough into fifteen 70g balls.
  • Have the baking trays ready with the parchment paper. Then cut the 70g ball into two, one 20 g ball for the bones and head and one 50 g for the body.
  • Now, to make the Pan de Muerto, grab a 50g dough ball and roll it with one hand until form a smooth ball, place it on the baking tray. Do the same with the rest 50g balls.
  • Then cut the 20g dough ball into 3 to make the bones and the head (see pic below)
  • To stick the bones and the head just add water with your finger. Then place the little pieces of dough (see pic below)
  • Once they are all done, they need to rest again. They need to prove for one more hour or more dependig on the temperature of your kitchen. If you have an oven with proving setting that helps a lot.
  • Once they have double in size, it is time to bake them. Preheat the oven to 170C. Mix the beaten egg and 2 tbsp of milk and brush each bread with this mixture. Place them in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 min.
  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool down for 5 minutes. Then while they are still a bit warm, brush them with melting butter and cover them with caster sugar, making sure to get rid of the excess of sugar.
  • They can be eaten straight away and they make the best companion to a nice hot Mexican chocolote. Enjoy them with your family on a rainy day.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Mexican