The traditional sweet bread baked in Mexico in anticipation of Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations.
1tbspAnise seed(whole, not ground)
2tbspOrange extract or orange flower water
Zest or grate the rind of one orange. If you can find orange flower water or orange extract, use it, but the recipe will not be a failure if you don’t have that.
In a saucepan over a medium flame, warm butter, milk, and water without letting it come to a boil. As that heats up, combine ½ cup of flour, yeast, salt, anise seed, and sugar in a large bowl. Slowly beat in the warm milk, orange extract or orange flower water, and orange zest until well mixed. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing through. Slowly add in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding additional flour until the dough is soft but not sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. If the dough is dry add some water and if it’s too wet add some flour. Form the dough into a large ball. Cut ball into quarters. You will be baking three loaves, reserving one of the quarters to make the “bones.”
Roll three of the quarters into smooth round balls. Place on a greased baking sheet and set in a warm area to rise. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate to prevent it from rising.
Before the bread loaves have fully risen, make your “bones” and “tears.” Roll logs of dough out to about 8″, pressing with your fingers as you roll to create “knuckles” between your fingers. roll out 6 bones and 3 tears. Place them on the bread loaves once they have risen.
Heat your oven to 375º. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden.
Let cool for 10 minutes then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with generous amounts of sugar.
Make ahead and refrigerate or freeze for your offshore cruise.One note: this recipe makes 3 6″ loaves. That might be too much to bake in your galley oven at one time. Either reduce the recipe or bake in batches to fit your oven. If you are making this bread in a kitchen as we hope you landlubbers do…the three loaves should fit a large baking sheet just fine.