Pan de Muerto/Bread of the Dead
5 lbs. Flour
2 1/2 cans “leche nestle” —–sweetened condensed milk
15 whole eggs, keep the whites
15 egg yolks
6 1/2 sticks butter, room temp
Orange zest, to taste
Almond extract, to taste
Scant 1/2 c. yeast
Add a little warm water to yeast and allow to rise a little.
Combine whole eggs, yolks, butter, condensed milk, and flavorings and beat until well combined. Add the yeast. Put flour on table or other large work surface. Make a well in the center. Add the egg mixture. Now comes the hard part. Mix and knead until the dough becomes unstuck from the table. You need to pick the dough up and slam it back against the table again and again. Allow the dough to double in a VERY warm place. I heat my oven to it’s lowest setting and then turn it off. This makes a perfect place to rise the dough. When doubled, punch down and form into balls (size is up to you). Use dough to form “tears” that cross and then a little ball in the middle (see below). Allow to rise again, back in the warm oven, on prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 for ???—watch them closely. When out of the oven but still warm, brush with unbeaten egg white and sprinkle with or dip into sugar.
I usually use colored sugar.
This is Paco’s family’s recipe. We make it every year to celebrate the Day of the Dead and to honor our daughter, Adele. It’s a lot of work, but well worth the effort. Traditionally served with hot chocolate.