Pan De Muerto

Pan De Muerto is traditionally baked and served in the weeks leading up to Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This Mexican-style brioche is decorated with bone-shaped pieces to represent the deceased, and left as an offering at graveyards and altars.


  • Makes 9 small loaves of bread

  • • 33g yeast
  • • 1kg sifted wheat flour
  • • ¾ cup warm water
  • • 1 pinch salt
  • • 300g caster sugar
  • • 500g butter
  • • 15 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • • Zest of 1 orange
  • • Zest of 1 lime
  • • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • • 1 pinch anise powder


  1. Mix together yeast, warm water and 150 grams of wheat flour. Once combined, let the mixture rest in a warm place for roughly 20 minutes, until the mixture begins to bubble.
  2. In a bowl, combine remaining wheat flour, sugar and salt. Then transfer to a flat, lightly floured surface and shape into a mound.
  3. Form a small well in the centre of the mound. Pour in the egg yolks, fermented yeast mixture, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon and anise, slowly stirring with a wooden spoon.
  4. Gradually add the butter and continue to stir, gathering flour from the sides of the well until a rough dough mixture has formed.
  5. Use hands to mold and work the mixture into a smooth dough with an elastic texture.
  6. Place dough in a large bowl, cover with a warm damp cloth and let stand for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
  7. Knead the dough and divide into 18 balls.
  8. Take half of the dough balls and roll with a rolling pin until 2cm in height. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  9. Separate each of the remaining dough balls into 3 pieces and mold into small log shapes using hands.
  10. Place 3 pieces of the bones on top of each flattened dough ball in diagonal lines. Glaze each dough ball with a little of the whisked egg mixture.
  11. To decorate with sesame seeds, sprinkle over dough balls with glazing mixture before placing in the oven.
  12. Leave the dough balls to rest for another hour or until doubled in volume.
  13. Bake in a fan-forced oven for 25 minutes at 180°C, taking care not to brown too much.
  14. Remove from oven and serve warm.
  15. For sugar coating, once bread is ready and out of the oven, wait to cool a little before varnishing with a little butter and sprinkling over sugar evenly.

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  • Serves 8
  • 2 hours 30 minutes