Pan de Muerto 

Prep Time: 40 minutes | Cook Time: 35-40 minutes



  • Starter
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/4 cup water, warm
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Dough
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbs anise seed
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus extra for sprinkling
  • 5 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened and separated
  • 6 tbs butter, melted



Add warm water to yeast in bowl, combine well and let rest one minute.

Add 1/3 cup flour to yeast mix, and stir until sticky dough forms. Set aside somewhere warm and let rest until bubbles start to form on top, about 35 minutes.


In a separate bowl, combine eggs, anise, salt, orange blossom water, and sugar. Whisk until sugar begins to dissolve and mix is foamy, about 1 minute.

Stir egg mixture into starter.

Add remaining 5 cups flour. Use hook attachment on medium-low, otherwise mix by hand with wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

While stirring, add the butter little by little. Continue until a soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.

Increase mixing speed to medium and continue mixing until sugar has dissolved and dough is elastic.

Lightly grease a large bowl with 2 tbs of the melted butter. Transfer the dough to that bowl, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Separate dough into 4 equal parts. Shape three of them into smooth balls and place on prepared baking sheets a few inches apart.

Divide remaining dough into 6 parts, rolling each into "bone" shapes--like ropes, but thin in the middle. Place on baking sheet, 2-3 inches from the rest.

Cover the dough and let rise until the size has nearly doubled. This could take about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Drape 2 "bones" over each round. The dough may deflate slightly--that's ok!

Brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until golden, about 35-40 minutes.

Cool on wire rack completely before slicking, about an hour.