How To Make Pan De Muerto: Dead Bread

The second October rolls into town, my local Mexican bakeries start to make and sell pan de muerto. People either buy it and eat it with hot chocolate or cafe de olla, or the alternative they buy a loaf and use it as a decorative / offering for their alters. Food /pan de muerto is placed on the alters as an offering to your lost loved ones, and a way for them to come and enjoy the day with you.

Yesterday I was invited to the Nestle headquarters to learn more about Dia de los muertos, at the event we made pan de muerto. Here is the recipe we followed and actually photos of me making the bread on site. Enjoy!

  • Pan De Muerto 1 of 15

    Pan de muerto can be used as an offering to the dia de los muertos alter or enjoyed with a hot cup of chocolate or coffee. 

  • Yeast 2 of 15

    Start with a yeast base of warm water and yeast. 

  • La Lechera 3 of 15

    Pour La Lechera (sweetened condensed milk) and butter into a dish to melt. 

  • Spice 4 of 15

    Anise and salt.

  • Adding Spice 5 of 15

    Add spice to the melted butter and condensed milk, then add in the yeast. Mix well to combine. 

  • Eggs 6 of 15

    Mix in the egg. 

  • Flour 7 of 15

    Flour should be poured in little by little. 

  • Mix With A Spoon 8 of 15

    Mix until all the dough comes together. 

  • Stick Your Hands In 9 of 15

    Making my pan de muerto

  • Knead 10 of 15

    Knead the dough with both hands.

  • Form A Loaf 11 of 15

    Place in an oiled bowl, and let the loaf rise in a warm place. 

  • Punch 12 of 15

    Punch the loaf in the middle to push it down. 

  • Bones And Skull 13 of 15

    Pinch off 3 tablespoons of dough and roll two of them into a worm shape. The other into a ball. 

  • X 14 of 15

    Drape the two worm shaped pieces of dough across the top to form an "X."

  • Skull 15 of 15

    With the additional ball form into a skull and gently place on top of the X. 

Recipe by: Nestle

Ingredients for pan de muerto:

  • 1 1/4 – teaspoon active dry-yeast
  • 1/4 – cup warm water
  • 1/4 – cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 – cup butter (1/2- stick of butter)
  • 1/2 – teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 – teaspoon salt
  • 2 – large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 1/4 – cups flour
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 – tablespoon sugar


  1. Stir yeast and warm water in a small glass bowl; allow to rest 10 minutes.
  2. Heat sweetened condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.
  3. Add anise seeds, salt, sweetened condensed milk, and yeast mixture together. Stir to combine.
  4. Add eggs to the mixture and mix to completely combine.
  5. Slowly add in the flour one cup at a time and mix with a wooden spoon.
  6. Stirring well until dough comes together.
  7. Knead dough gently for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth.
  8. Place in a large greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat. Se to the side.
  10. Punch dough down. Pull 3 tablespoons of dough from the loaf. Shape the larger dough into a loaf.
  11. Roll 2 of the balls into long worm shapes to form the bones on top of the bread. Drape the two worm shaped dough pieces on top of the bread to form an “X.”
  12. With the remaining ball form into a skeleton head and gently place on top of the X.
  13. Place loaf on prepared baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  15. Brush top with of loaf with egg wash.
  16. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove loaf from oven and brush again with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Return back to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until loaf is golden brown.
  17. Serve warm or cool completely.
  18. Best when eaten the same day.
  19. Enjoy!

For more recipes from Nicole Presley click over to her blog:  Presley’s Pantry 

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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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