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This is the Mexican bread for Day of the Dead

Mexican Bread for the Day of the Dead Feast

Chef Adriana Martin
The Mexican sweet bread is a classic for Day of the Dead. This bread is sweet and aromatic. Soft and tender — pairs well with atole, coffee, or hot chocolate. We are following the classic recipe using quality ingredients, fresh eggs, orange blossom water, orange zest, and sugar.
5 from 66 votes
Prep Time 3 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breads, Desserts
Cuisine Mexican Cuisine
Servings 4 breads
Calories 500 kcal


  • Stand Mixer
  • Flour sifter
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • Plastic container with a sealing cover
  • Zester
  • Scrapper
  • Plastic container with a cap for the yeast
  • Thermometer
  • Oven
  • Baking sheets
  • Pastry brush
  • A beater and a dough hook for the blender


For the dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 360 grams and sifted recommend King Arthur brand
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 3 yolks room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons orange blossom water
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest or the zest of 2 oranges
  • 2/3 cup butter 150 grams and room temperature

For the yeast

  • 1 1/2 packets active yeast 11 grams and recommend Red Star active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour recommend King Arthur flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk has to be at a temperature of 110°F-115°F

For the topping

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter melted


  • Start preparing the yeast combining the active dry yeast with flour, sugar and warm milk. Mix well, cover and let the yeast ferment for a few minutes in a warm area of the kitchen. When it doubles and starts bubbling is ready.
  • Stir the yeast and let it rise again. You will do this three times. When the yeast is fermented add it to a bowl and combine with the eggs and the yolks using the stand mixer. The eggs and yolks have to be room temperature and added one by one.
  • When the yeast and the eggs are blended, that is the time to start adding the sifted flour a spoon at a time. Then add to the mix the sugar and the salt. When all is integrated add the orange blossom water and the orange zest. Continue mixing.
  • Remove the beater and insert the dough hook to the stand mixer. Continue mixing at medium speed and start adding the butter slowly. Knead on the machine for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. The dough will be sticky, so add some flour to the surface and knead by hand for the other 20 minutes. You can take your time and let the dough rest for a few minutes. This dough requires to be worked to develop the gluten and allow the bread to be soft and moist.
  • When the dough doesn't stick to your fingers or the surface and when extended doesn't rip in the process, that is the signal the dough is ready for the next step.
  • Make a round loaf and place it inside a plastic container with a lid. The container must be coated with oil to avoid sticking. Close the lid and let the dough rise on a warm area withing the kitchen.
  • When the dough doubles remove from the container and punch. Add some flour and knead again. Form a round loaf and cut in four pieces. One of the pieces of dough cut again and use it for making the decorations.
  • Take each piece of dough and form round four loaves making sure the seam of the bread goes on the bottom to allow each loaf to look perfectly round.
  • Take the portion of the dough for the decorations and add flour. Work the dough until it achieves a playdoh texture. For making the bones, form a cylinder and roll forward first with one finger and then with two. The back and forth movement will help stretch and divide to make a bone shape. For making the top part of the skull just make a little ball with the dough.
  • On the top of the loaf make a cross of water with the baking brush. This will help the decorations to stick. Add the bones and little ball to goes on top and let the bread rise again for about an hour. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-30 minutes
  • Test the temperature of the bread using a digital instant-read thermometer. Stick the thermometer's probe into the thickest part of the loaf, which is usually the middle. Wait a few seconds for the reading to appear. If the temperature reads between 190 and 210 degrees, the bread is done.
  • Place on a rack to cool and brush the bread with melted butter. Sprinkle the bread with caster sugar and enjoy.



  • The dough for the Mexican bread is sticky, do not be tempted to add more flour.
  • Knead the dough enough and it will turn from sticky to soft and malleable.
  • Let the yeast rise three times before using. This will allow the bread have a fine texture, same as brioche. 
  • If you prefer to bake the bread later,  refrigerate the dough immediately after mixing, not after the first rise.
    • When ready to bake remove the dough from fridge, shape, and rise before baking.
    • This second rise can take anywhere from an hour to a few hours, depending on activity of yeast and the room temperature. 
  • Other way to check if the bread is has cooked is by giving to the bottom of the loaf a firm thump with your thumb. The bread will sound hollow when it's done.
  • Bread will last up to 5 days fresh when stored inside a plastic container with a lid. Will keep fresh up to three days when stored into a zipper plastic bag. 
Have you tried this recipe? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram and or Facebook using the handle @adrianasbestrecipes and this hashtag #ABRecipes Happy Eats!


Serving: 100gCalories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 169gProtein: 18gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 40mgPotassium: 210mgFiber: 3gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 800IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 105mgIron: 6mg
Keyword bread, day of the dead, sweet bread
Tried this recipe?Mention @adrianasbestrecipes or tag #abrecipes on Instagram