Hey Vallarta… Lets Make Pan Muerto

Soon it will be Day of the Dead and we wouldn’t be caught dead in Puerto Vallarta without a good recipe for Day of the Dead Bread! Pan Muerto in Spanish is traditional bread that is shared at either the shine for the departed or at the actual gravesites. In the shape of a bun, and with the usual flare for amusement, Pan Muerto is covered in bones in somewhat of a geometric pattern. These represent the departed (difuntos) and the top is a tear shaped piece, denoting the goddess Chimalma. These are not tears for the dead but for the living who must remain in their earthly bodies until it is their time to go to wherever it is we go.

Dia de los Muertos is observed November 1 and 2 but the bread can be eaten many days ahead of the celebration. This gives us an opportunity to perfect our recipe and experiment on our friends and relatives (the pup gets a nibble, too.)

We are pleased to share our favorite recipe with you. Good luck!

Ingredients: ½ cup butter; 1 ¼ cup water; 6 cups flour; 2 packets dry yeast; 1 teaspoon salt; 3 teaspoons whole anise seed; 2 tablespoons orange zest (we prefer to zest our own oranges, make sure to wash them ahead of time); ¾ cups sugar; 4 eggs. Start with all ingredients room temperature (water should be very warm.) Mix together butter, sugar, anise, salt and half the flour in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the eggs and warm water. Slowly add the contents together while adding the remaining flour. Add the yeast at this time and continue adding the remaining flour. Knead on a well floured surface and cover with a slightly damp towel. Allow to rise for an hour and a half. Punch down and divide in two pieces, your bun and with the remaining dough (about ¼ of the mixture) enough to create your bones. Place the bone shapes on the bun and allow to rise for another hour. (It’s easier than you think to make the bones. Roll out cylinder shapes and form little balls to attach to the ends.)

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden. Once the bread has cooled, brush with the following sugar glaze: Bring to a boil ¾ cup sugar and ½ cup orange juice. Using a pastry brush, glaze the bread and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Buen provecho!

Que es cómo es.


 Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!


Harriet Cochran Murray, Director of Cochran Real Estate, is a seasoned Real Estate professional both here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and in the United States. Harriet has served in many capacities as a board member and President for the local Real Estate Association AMPI (AMPI is the national association of real estate professionals). She is also a member of FIABCI and NAR in the United States. Harriet’s expertise and experience in the Real Estate and especially in the Mexican market makes her Viewpoint blog articles both informational and intriguing. Harriet is a Buyer’s Agent who specializes in getting the best deal on the right property for her clients.