Mexican sweet bread.
Concha is a staple in our kitchen. Of all the pan dulce, conchas continue to be our favorite! Growing up, conchas and coffee were often our breakfast. Very nutritious, right? Let me tell you, it was the best when my grandma always made sure our sweet bread was on the table before we woke up. It might be time consuming, but making this delicious bread at home is well worth it!
Serves: 12 conchas
Time: 3 hour
- ¾ cup warm milk (100-110°F [38-43°C])
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp plus ½ cup granulated sugar (½ cup sifted)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 cup butter-flavored shortening
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- In a small cup, combine the milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and instant yeast. Mix well and allow the yeast to activate, about 7 minutes.
- On a clean work surface, combine the flour, cinnamon (if using), salt, and the½ cup sifted sugar. Create a pit in the center of the flour mixture. Add the yeast mixture, whole eggs, and vanilla extract to the pit. Begin to incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully combined.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Roll out the kneaded dough and begin adding the butter, kneading as you add. Knead the sticky dough for about 15 minutes more or until it's soft and elastic. Don't add more flour.
- Grease a large bowl with butter and place the dough inside, flipping it to ensure it's fully greased. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot to rise until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
- To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, shortening, and vanilla extract until a paste forms. Knead the paste until it's soft and doesn't crack. Divide the paste in half. Add the cocoa powder to one half and mix again until incorporated. Form both halves into balls, store them in resealable plastic bags, and set aside.
- Once the dough has risen, place it on a clean work surface and punchout the air. Shape the dough into a log and cut it into even pieces. (Make 12 if you want average-sized conchas.) Shape each piece of dough into a ball by gently resting your hand on top and rotating counterclockwise. If you find it easier, simply shape the dough into a ball in your hands.
- Transfer the balls to a greased baking sheet. Grease the top of each with butter and cover them with a kitchen towel.
- Cut each ball of topping paste into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small disc and flatten it well. Cover each ball of dough with a flattened paste disc, pressing down so it sticks. Be sure the paste covers the dough completely, along with about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of extra overlap. The extra paste will ensure the dough is covered after rising.
- Use a concha cutter or knife to mark each concha. If using a knife, cut about 8 lines into the paste layer on top of each concha. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow the conchas to rest until they double in size, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden. Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
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