The day after we celebrate Halloween in the US, our neighbors to the South begin festivities surrounding Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition where deceased loved ones are honored with altars that feature their photo, as well as their favorite items and foods. Tampa Bay baker Ana Laura Gonzalez-Taha shares her recipe for Pan de Muerto/Sugar Skull Bread, which is typically part of the celebrations.


▢500 grams 4 cups All Purpose flour

▢2 Tablespoons active-dry yeast

▢100 grams sugar ½ cup

▢1 teaspoon salt

▢80 grams butter at room temperature + 30 grs. to brush the bread after baking.

▢80 grams unsalted margarine room temperature plus more for bowl and pans.

▢4 large eggs room temperature

▢Orange zest from 2 oranges

▢60 ml. warm water about 110 degrees

▢1 teaspoon orange blossom water or orange essence

▢1 large egg lightly beaten to brush the bread

▢Sugar to decorate the bread at the end.


Place active-dry yeast into warm water and put aside. Place sugar, salt, flour, margarine, orange blosson water and zest and four large eggs into a bowl and mix well. Slowly add warm water and begin kneading dough until mixed in well. Let mixture sit for about an hour, until it rises. Mold dough into desired shape, then top with “bones” molded from long pieces of dough. Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until golden brown.