Pan De Muerto (Mexican Bread of the Dead)

Recipe by Queen Dana
READY IN: 6hrs 35mins
YIELD: 2 loaves




  • For the Bread:
  • Pour warm water into a 1 quart bowl and sprinkle yeast over water. Set aside in a warm place that is free of draft until bubbly, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir 1 cup of flour to make a sponge. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the sponge doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
  • Scrape the sponge into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in anise seeds, orange zest, butter, orange liqueur, sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups of flour. Beat the batter on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add, one 1/4 cup at a time, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour until it forms a very soft dough that cleans the side of the bowl.
  • Knead with hook for 4 minutes (dough will be smooth and very soft, but it should not be sticky, if needed add more flour by the tablespoon to preventing sticking). Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a cloth and set aside to rise in a warm place free of draft until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hour.
  • Grease 2 8-inches round cake pans. Gently deflate dough and divide in half, (dough will be very soft). Carefully transfer each half to a greased cake pan, turning the edges under to smooth the top as best you can. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap, then with damp cloths and let stand in a warm place until dough rises to the top of pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake bread until hollow when thumped, about 35 to 40 minutes. Immediately remove the loaves from pans and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For Glaze:
  • Stir everything together until smooth, add more orange juice if necessary to reach spread consistency.
  • Spread glaze over cooled loaves and sprinkle with toppings.