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Pan de muerto


1/4 cup warm water

3 teaspoons dry yeast

4 eggs plus one egg for brushing on loaf

41/4 cups all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup

flour for "bone" decorations

3/4 cup sugar plus extra sugar for

sprinkling over loaf

1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (see Note)

1-1/2 teaspoons orange zest

3 tablespoons orange flower water (see


Pinch salt

3/4 cup butter (11 tablespoons room-tem-

perature butter plus 3 tablespoons

melted butter for brushing on bread

for decorating)

In a small mixing bowl, mix warm water with dry yeast and put aside for 10 to 15 minutes. In another small bowl, lightly mix 4 eggs and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook mix 41/4 cups flour, sugar, both zests and orange water. Add yeast mixture and start mixing, using dough hooks. Then add salt and 2/3 of mixed eggs and continue mixing, about 5 to 8 minutes, until dough holds together and forms a mass around the hook.

Add remaining mixed eggs and gradually add all butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep mixing until dough again forms a mass around the hook, another 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove dough from mixing bowl and place in floured bowl. Cover with a clean towel and place bowl in a warm, draft-free place for about 3 hours or until double in size. Then punch down dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and again push air out of the dough. Reserve about 1/4 of the dough to shape "bone" decorations. Roll larger mass of dough into a ball and place on greased baking sheet.

To form decorations, add about 1/4 cup flour to reserved dough and knead it in. Use your fingers to roll out two lengths of rope. Allow dough to remain uneven so it looks like bones. (You can do this by spreading your fingers wide apart while you are rolling out ropes). Attach the ropes atop the round loaf to form a cross. Roll a small ball and attach in center of loaf.

Place dough in a warm and humid place (on top of the heated oven is good) to rise again. Once it almost doubles in size and is puffy-looking (about 40 minutes to 1-1/2 hours, depending on conditions of the room), use a pastry brush to apply remaining egg. Bake for about 50 minutes or until it is a golden dark color.

Remove bread from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Glaze with melted butter and immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar. Makes about 14 servings.

Note: For zest, grate only the colored portion of peel.

Orange flower water can be found in ethnic grocery stores throughout the region such as the Holy Land Bakery & Grocery, 4806 N. Kedzie; (773) 588-3306).

Adapted from Laura Cid, Bombon

Nutrition facts per serving: 329 calories, 14 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 109 mg cholesterol, 43 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 46 mg sodium, 1 g fiber

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