Oaxacan Day of the Dead Bread

From 'Mexico The Cookbook' by Margarita Carrillo Arronte
Oaxacan Day of the Dead Bread Popular for Day of the Dead, this Pan de Muerto is shaped like figures of people, and is popular in Oaxaca. They add special faces on sticks to the finished loaves to complete the look.

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp orange blossom extract
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
    • To Decorate:
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the sugar, salt, and yeast into the well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  2. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead for 10 minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a dish towel, and let rise for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  3. Once risen, half the dough and shape each piece into an oval. Make a cut in each side and separate the dough to make arms. Make a cut in the middle at one end and separate the dough to make legs.
  4. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  6. To decorate, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush the glaze over the loaf, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. To test if the loaf is cooked, tap the base and if it sounds hollow, it is ready. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.
  8. You can decorate these figures with faces using food colouring and icing. In Mexico, special faces on sticks are pushed into the loaves to finish the persons look!