Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of Central America and the U.S. On November 1 and 2, people honor their deceased relatives with colorful masks, flowers and grave decorations. This yeasty, glazed egg bread, Pan de Muerto, is commonly round with pieces of dough on top representing bones and skulls. This recipe is simple and hearty, with only a small dusting of sugar. Enjoy alone or with a sweet dip.
- 1 packet (7 grams) active-dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (100-110° F)
- 1/2 cup NESTLÉ LA LECHERA Sweetened Condensed Milk or NESTLÉ CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
STIR yeast and warm water in a large glass bowl; allow to rest 10 minutes. Heat La Lechera and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add anise seeds, salt and La Lechera mixture to yeast mixture and stir to combine.
ADD eggs and 1 cup flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Continue adding remaining flour, cup by cup, stirring well until dough comes together. Knead dough gently for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. Place in large greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
LINE a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
PUNCH dough down and divide in half. Cut 3 small (about 1 tablespoonful) balls from each half. Roll out 4 small dough balls to form the “bones”. Shape each of larger dough pieces into round loaves. Gently press the bones on top of the loaves crossing each other to make an “X”. Roll the remaining 2 small dough balls to form the “skulls”. Put skulls in middle of each “X” and gently press down. Place loaves on the prepared baking sheet and allow to rise in warm place for about 30 minutes.
PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Brush tops of each loaf with egg wash.
BAKE for 20 minutes; remove loaves from oven and brush again with egg wash and sprinkle each with half of the granulated sugar. Return to oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Serve warm or cool completely. Best eaten the same day prepared.