The traditional bread of Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos is pan de muerto, which is consumed with coffee or hot chocolate. Generally speaking, the bread has two crosses of dough on it to represent crossbones. The bread is found in an elaborate altar, also called an ofrenda, where it is presented as an offering to the spirits of the dead along with other favorite foods of the deceased. If you're curious about how to prepare pan de muerto, then look no further, as we have a full-proof recipe to share with you.


1/4 cup margarine

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup warm water

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons anise seed

1/2 cup white sugar

4 eggs (beaten)

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon orange zest

2 tablespoons white sugar

Note: This recipe takes 2 hours, plus 1 hour for rising.


1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Add the milk and butter in a heated medium saucepan and cook until the butter melts. Remove the mixture from the stove and add the warm water.

3. Add the warm milk mixture to the dry ingredients and beat until even. Add eggs, one at a time, and the orange zest. Beat ingredients until well combined.

4. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is soft. Once the dough is soft, place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth.

5. Place the dough in a bowl, that has been greased (traditionally with lard), and place a plastic wrap over the bowl. Let the dough sit in a warm place so it rises until it doubles in size, approximately 1 to 2 hours.

6. Bake the bread for 25 to 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

7. Remove the bread from the oven and brush the fresh bread with a glaze.

Glaze recipe:

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest in a small saucepan.

Boil over medium heat for 2 minutes.

Be sure to brush over the bread while it is warm and sprinkle white sugar over the freshly glazed bread.

You can replace the orange flavoring with ground cinnamon, raisins, or almond extract if orange is not your flavor of choice.