About this recipe:This is a version of the bread that is made for All Soul's Day on November 2, known as the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico. You can also mould the bread into different shapes, such as angels and animals.
50g (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons semi skimmed milk
4 tablespoons warm water (45 C)
375g (13 oz) plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons dried active baking yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dessertspoon anise seed
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 dessertspoon orange zest
For the glaze
4 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons caster sugar
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Method Prep:2hr › Cook:45min › Ready in:2hr45min
Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from heat and add warm water. The mixture should be around 45 C.
In a large bowl, combine 1/3 of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 4 tablespoons sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture, then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in the remaining flour, a little at a time, until the dough is soft.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl covered with cling film, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours.
Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking tray, loosely cover with cling film, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
Bake in a preheated 180 C / Gas mark 4 oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the remaining sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with sugar.
I baked a practice loaf but didn't need to as it turned out excellent. Good texture and flavour. I also used my bread machine on the dough cycle. Couldn't be easier, which is a good thing because my son is baking the next loaf. - 18 Jul 2008
Nov. 2, "Day of the Dead," was also my Dad's birthday. I made a batch of Pan de Muertos and my sister and I took it out to the cemetery, where we sat beside my Dad's grave and shared the bread and special memories of him while we watched the sun set. I split the recipe into two small rounds -- one for us to share, and one to leave at the gravesite for the birds and squirrels. Sentimentality aside, this bread was surprisingly good; I was prepared to not care for it much because I'm not fond of anise, but we both really liked it. Thanks for a helping me start a new family tradition! - 18 Jul 2008
Although I am not a big fan of anise in bread, this was pretty good. Try it! - 18 Jul 2008