Try this recipe for Gluten-Free Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread), converted from a traditional pan de muerto by Herdez Brand by KC the G-Free Foodie (with a little help from the Herdez chef!).Jump to Recipe
Día de los Muertos, November 1 & 2, is a special time to honor the dead and celebrate life in the Mexican culture, similar to the All Saints or All Souls days in the Catholic tradition. Pan de muerto, or Day of the Dead bread, is a sweet bread many enjoy with coffee or hot chocolate during this time of year.
I took a traditional pan de muerto recipe and converted to gluten-free, so everyone can celebrate. After a couple of tries and not getting it quite right, I jumped on the phone with the Herdez team, and their head chef talked me through the finer points of pan de muerto. Together we figured out I had a moisture problem. If your dough is super-tacky (like you can't get it off your fingers at all) add a little more flour. STOP adding flour if the dough becomes stiff. There's a chance you won't need all the flour for this recipe. Read it all the way through before you start!
Gluten-Free Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread)
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup warm water 110 degrees F/45 degrees C
- 3 cups Gluten-Free flour blend sifted with 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (if not already in the blend) & DIVIDED
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons anise seed
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 3 eggs beaten
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add the warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
- In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour blend, yeast, salt, anise seed and sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in ½ cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft. Stop adding flour if the dough starts to become stiff (you may not need all the flour!)
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly with floured hands.
- Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap 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. If you'd like to make "bones" on the bread, take no more than ⅕ of the dough and roll fat ropes, then stretch them over the loaf and pinch in sections to mimic the shape of bumpy bones.Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly.
- Sprinkle the top with sugar or cinnamon as desired.
Recipe converted to gluten-free from an original by Herdez Brand with permission.
FAQs about Gluten-Free Pan de Muerto
It's made of gluten-free flour, eggs, butter & milk, sugar and yeast, and flavored with anise, orange and more sugar + cinnamon.
It's eaten to honor the Day of the Dead, to honor the dead and celebrate life in the Mexican culture. The fluffy, soft texture and sweet + orange flavor are perfect with hot chocolate or coffee.
Pan de muerto is a soft & fluffy sweet bread, flavored with orange, anise and cinnamon.
Yes. Use coconut milk in place of the whole milk, and substitute vegan butter (like Miyoko's) for the butter.
Yes. Use ¼ cup prune puree to replace each egg. Then make sure to add the flour in stages and stop adding flour if the dough becomes stiff. You may not need all of the flour.