80grams butterat room temperature + 30 grs. to brush the bread after baking.
80grams unsalted margarineroom temperature plus more for bowl and pans.
4large eggsroom temperature
Orange zest from 2 oranges
60ml.warm waterabout 110 degrees
1teaspoonorange blossom wateror orange essence
1large egglightly beaten to brush the bread
Sugar to decorate the bread at the end.
Place the 4 eggs, margarine, salt and half of the sugar in the mixer bowl. Using the Hook attachment start working the dough for about 2 minutes. Add the All-purpose flour in small amounts alternating with the water. Add the dry active yeast and mix until well combined.
Continue now by adding one at a time the butter, the orange zest, the rest of the sugar and the orange blossom essence, mixing well after each addition until soft dough forms.
Get the dough out of the mixer bowl and place onto work surface; knead until smooth, dusting work surface lightly with flour as needed if the dough begins to stick. Knead for a couple more minutes. Coat the interior of a large bowl with margarine; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Transfer the dough from the bowl onto working surface, separate 300 grams of the dough to form the decorative bones later on. Cut the rest of the dough in 70grs. pieces or in two equal pieces if making 2 large breads. (Making sure to separate 300 grams of dough to form the decorative bones.). Prepare 2 greased baking sheets, set aside.
Shaping the Pan de Muerto bread
Take one portion of the dough and place in the palm of your hand, we put our fingers in and add a bit of pressure and shape each piece into a tight ball rolling the dough on the surface. This is called “bolear” in Spanish (if, at first they do not look fine to you, do not worry you will achieve this with practice) Place on prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Press the dough slightly.
Now place the remaining 300 grs of dough we reserved onto the work surface, dusting with flour if needed, and knead until the flour is integrated perfectly (this is for the bones to decorate our breads).
We take small portions of dough and roll in small logs putting a little pressure with the fingers to form the bones. Once your bones are already formed (we need 2 for each bread). Brush each roll forming a cross on top of each bun with a mix made out of the remaining beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon of water, once we marked the cross with the brush we place the bones as it shows in the above picture, cutting any extra dough.
And finally, with the leftover dough form small balls, varnish the center of the buns where the bones come together and put the ball there as shown in the picture. Cover baking sheets with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are touching and doubled in size, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add a pinch of salt to our mix of egg and water and brush the buns before placing in the oven. Transfer buns to oven and bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes, approximately, if making the small buns. If you are making the larger version the baking time will change a little. Remember that every oven is different, (when the bottom of the bread is golden it indicates that they are ready). Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
Once your Pan de Muerto bread has a completely cooled brush with the remaining butter and then dust with sugar.
Instructions are given to work the dough in the Electric Mixer but it can be done by hand.