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Conchas recipe - mexican pan de dulce bread - 5_4
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How to make Conchas Recipe

Among all the different kinds of traditional Mexican Pan Dulce (“sweet bread”), Conchas are without a doubt the most popular and recognizable. No other pan dulce is more representative of Mexico and its love of bread. 
Course Breads
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 339kcal

Ingredients

  • 500 grams All-Purpose Flour plus extra for dusting
  • 125 grams Sugar
  • 7.5 grams Active Dry Yeast
  • 3 grams Salt
  • 100 grams Non-Salted Butter at room temperature
  • 100 ml eggs (use a measuring cup, it equals about 6-1/2 Tbps )
  • 5 ml Vanilla extract*
  • 120 ml of Milk warm.

TOPPING:

  • 100 grams Vegetable Shortening plus extra to grease the dough and baking sheets
  • 100 grams Confectioner Sugar
  • 120 grams All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 grams Cocoa powder for half of the topping, if desired
  • 5 grams Cinnamon optional for the white topping

Instructions

  • Have each ingredient ready and measured (by weight) before starting, and thoroughly read the notes above. Mix the all-purpose flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium speed, just to mix it well.
  • Add the butter and mix well (using the stand mixer with the hook attachment), then mix in the eggs and vanilla extract and slowly pour the milk in little by little until the dough looks cohesive (you may need less or more milk, as some flours soak up more liquid than others). Keep beating the mixture for about 7 minutes at medium speed. Add a little more flour around the inside of the bowl (2-3 tablespoons), just enough for the dough to separate from the container. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.
  • YOUR DOUGH SHOULD FEEL VERY SOFT AND ELASTIC.
  • Place the dough on your floured working table and knead it just enough to shape it into a ball.
  • Place this ball in a large greased bowl to rest. Cover it with a plastic wrap (or wax paper) and a kitchen napkin. Let the dough rest in a warm place for about 2 hours until it doubles in size. I usually turn the light on in my oven and place the bowl inside, close to the light. Be aware that if your kitchen is cold, the dough will take longer to rise. Be patient and do not try to proceed to the next step until the mixture has doubled in size.

MAKING THE CONCHA TOPPINGS

  • While the dough is rising, you can prepare the sugar topping. Soften the shortening with your spatula until it is very creamy, and then add the confectioner’s sugar. Finally, add in the flour little by little (if using, add the ground cinnamon in this step). Set this paste aside to use later. If you’re making half of the Conchas with the chocolate topping, then divide the paste in two and add the cocoa powder to one half, mixing it until it integrates very well.
  • Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, place it onto a floured surface and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 small balls (60 grams each). To shape the balls, lightly flour your hands and place each small ball on the working surface and gently press down with your hand, rotating your hand to form the balls.
  • Place them onto greased baking sheets and continue until you’ve finished shaping all of the dough.
  • Using your hands, grease the top of each ball with a little shortening. Do not skip this step, as it will help the topping adhere to the dough.
  • To add the topping, flour your hands and divide the topping paste into 16 balls. Use your hands to press down on each one to form a small, flat circle (I like to use a sheet of plastic, like when making tortillas). Place this disk onto the ball of dough, and press it down very firmly.
  • Once you’ve finished placing the topping on the buns, use a concha cutter or a knife to decorate them with the traditional concha shape.
  • Allow the conchas to rise in a warm place until they are almost double in size. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this step could take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Do not leave them to rise any longer, because if you let them grow too much they will collapse inside the oven. Bake in a preheated oven at 325º degrees for 20 minutes, or until the bottom of the conchas are lightly golden. If you are placing more than one baking sheet in your oven, rotate them after 10-12 minutes. Move the sheet on the bottom rack to the top rack and vice versa to have an even baking.
  • I hope you try this recipe and enjoy the results. Baking (with or without yeast) can sometimes be tricky, and it can help to try out different recipes to see what works for you. There are many other concha recipes out there on the web, for example, the one at Pati’s Mexican TablePati’s Mexican Table or the one from Marcela Valladolid. The only recipe I’m not very confident about is the one at the King Arthur website, since it is very different than a regular concha recipe you will find in Mexico.

Notes

  • To achieve better results weight your ingredients in grams. I only included the amounts in imperial units for the convenience of some cooks but it is always more accurate to measure the ingredients by weight.
  • I use 2 large organic eggs, which when measuring about 100 grams or ml. Difference brands and varieties of eggs will have different sizes, just makes sure that the amount you use is 100ml.
  • *You can also use bread flour for a softer texture.
  • *Please make sure that the butter you’re using is non-salted, since the extra salt in salted butter will kill the yeast, and your bread won’t rise.
  • * Depending on the flour you use, you may require less or more milk, as some flours absorb more liquid than others.
  • If using Active Yeast, you will first need to proof the yeast in the warm milk for about 10 to 15 minutes, before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. 
  • *Make sure that the yeast you’re using is fresh. Read the expiration date, or test the yeast in some warm water (if it makes bubbles after 5 minutes, then it is good to use).
  • * If you want to make all the Conchas with a chocolate topping (as opposed to half), use 10 grams of cocoa powder instead of 5. For colored toppings, add a few drops of food coloring to the white topping.
  • *Start early in the morning to have enough time to let the dough rest. You can even prepare the dough a day before and store it in the fridge to bake the next day.
  • I like to freeze the concha dough to use it later, by dividing the dough in two and storing one half in a freezer bag. Defrost it overnight and then shape the conchas. Another thing that I started doing several years ago was to freeze the already-shaped conchas with the topping already on. I place them on a tray and put them in my freezer, then wait until they’re frozen and store them in a freezer bag. When I want to bake them, I defrost them until they rise and then cook them as indicated in the recipe above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2.1mg