Bread, dough and batter Desserts and sweets Recipes

Dead bread

Dead bread


  • Half
  • 240 minutes
  • For 10 people
  • 0.5 € / person
  • 213kcal per 100g.

How to prepare the bread of the dead . Today I bring you a very typical sweet recipe for the Day of the Dead in Mexico , which in Spain would be the Day of the Dead, on November 1.

This is traditional pan de muerto that is not lacking in most Mexican houses at this time, and in many areas throughout the year. Its origin is assumed at the time of the conquest, although it is inspired by pre-Hispanic rituals.

In honor of the gods human sacrifices were offered, the victim’s heart was removed, even beating and the shaman ate it in gratitude. The Spaniards rejected these sacrifices and for this reason they began to bake a loaf with a rounded shape and a shredded decoration of symbolism.

The bones are supposed to correspond to the four limbs, arms and legs, the tears from the lateral memories they have already left, and their rounded shape, the cycle of life and death. Depending on the area of ​​Mexico, this bread can be skeletonized, or coated in red sugar, as a symbol of blood, a whole anthropophagic ritual of bread and sugar.

Currently there are many types and varieties of pan de muerto in Mexico but in all cases the base is always that of a brioche-type dough that makes this sweet a soft, fluffy and very tasty bun. It is a sweet that will take us some time to prepare, due to the times of fermentation and rest, but it is worth trying. It is perfect for breakfasts and snacks.

It is true that, as in the past, most parties are no longer celebrated, but what has become clear is that thanks to our gastronomic repertoire, it is easy to keep the party on the table with this recipe, Halloween recipes or All Saints recipes .

Preparation of the bread of the Dead

  1. We begin by preparing a sponge or pre-mix, in a bowl mix 50 ml. of warm milk with fresh yeast crumbled. With a fork we help its dissolution and add 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  2. Mix the ingredients until they are incorporated and let stand at room temperature until you need it. About 30 minutes will have passed and it will be enough time for the sponge to have fermented.
  3. We dump the flour on the work surface and make a hole in the center where we place the eggs. We begin to integrate it with the flour.
  4. When it is ready we add the butter in pieces and continue integrating it slightly with the flour.
  5. Add the orange blossom water, the salt, the orange zest and the rest of the sugar. We begin to knead until we have gotten a more or less integrated ball, about 5 minutes.


Kneading the bread of the Dead

  1. From this moment we will be adding the milk little by little, without incorporating it all at once, so that it is absorbed by the dry ingredients. We continue the kneading process until the dough no longer sticks to the counter, for a long time.
  2. At the beginning it will be a totally sticky dough but, little by little and interspersing periods of rest to our kneading. This way we will get a smooth dumpling.
  3. At this time we add the sponge that will have already fermented. The dough will become sticky again but with the kneading we will have to make it completely manageable again. Again, it is recommended to alternate periods of 5 minutes of rest between the kneading moments so that the dough relaxes and contributes to the process.
  4. We make a ball with the dough and place it in a previously oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for 1.5 hours in a warm place. The oven will be a good place for this step warm and off.
  5. When the dough has doubled in volume, turn it over onto a floured work surface.
  6. We proceed to form our dead manes. We can make about 7 small loaves or two larger loaves.

Decoration of the bread of the Dead

  1. To make large breads we reserve 200 gr. of dough for decoration and the rest we divide into two balls. If we opt for small buns, we form balls of about 80 gr. and another 60 gr. for the decoration of each one.
  2. We work a little the dough of each of the loaves. We form the balls as smooth as possible and place them on a previously greased baking tray. It is important that we leave a certain distance between the loaves since they have to ferment and grow again.
  3. We get the characteristic decoration of the pan de muerto. We prepare two strips of about 30 gr. and rolling them on the counter we form the bones of our bread of the dead.
  4. In the step by step we can see how these bones should look. We form some tears for the sides and finish with a ball on top of the bread.

Baking and final presentation of the Pan de Muertos

  1. With the oven preheated to 180º C, bake the small loaves for about 15 minutes and the large loaf for 20. When they are golden brown, remove the loaves from the oven and place them on a rack.
  2. While the dead bread is baked, we melt 90 gr. of butter. As soon as the loaves are out of the oven and still hot, we paint them with butter and sprinkle them with sugar. I advise you to sprinkle them as you paint them. Since if we leave it for the end, the butter will have been absorbed by the bread and it will be difficult for the sugar to stick to its surface.

I am not going to say that the ideal is that we wait for them to cool down to enjoy them. They’re amazing taken in the moment, and they’re just as amazing once they’ve cooled down.

Perfect for a great breakfast and for a snack whether it is Day of the Dead or not. Be sure to enjoy all the yummy sweets in our dessert recipes . 

I assure you that you will find a lot of ideas to make yours much happier. You can see all the photos of the step by step in the next album.  

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