Conchas (sweet bread)

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Mexico has a rich history and tradition concerning gastronomy. All of the mexican food we eat nowadays is a mix between our indigenous ancestors and the spanish, that brought along a lot of products and ingredients, a key one: wheat.

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Wheat allowed us to start making delicious sweet bread, that are very unique and different among them; not for nothing mexican bread is the most varied in shapes and flavors in the entire world, amd that´s something to be proud of.

So, today we have the very famous “conchas” recipe, a bread that we can buy in every bakery here in Mexico. But here´s the recipe, for those of you that may not find it that easily or are just in a baking mood.

 

RECIPE

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1/3 C warm water
  • 2  1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar 
  • 2  1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp powdered milk
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 90 gr unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1/2 C + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 90 gr vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

For the dough:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, the warm water and half of the sugar. Set aside and let rise for 20 min. for the yeast to activates.
  2. In a large bowl put the flour, the rest of the sugar, salt and powdered milk, and mix a little.
  3. Next, add the whole eggs, the yolk and butter and incorporate with your hands.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and keep mixing until you get a soft dough.
  5. On a clean surface, knead the dough for 20 min. until it is very elastic (you can also make the whole kneading procces in a mixer with the dough hook).
  6. Make a ball with the dough, grease it with a little vegetable oil and put it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hr. or until doubled in size.

For the topping:

  1. In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the flour, powdered sugar, salt, vegetable shortening and vanilla extract until you have a smooth dough. 
  2. Divide the dough in half and incorporate the unsweetened cocoa powder to one of them. That way we get two toppings: one vanilla and the other one chocolate.
  3. Wrap these doughs in plastic and put them in the fridge until needed.

To form the conchas:

  1. Once the dough is double in size, put it in a big baking sheet and cut it into 8 or 9 equal pieces.
  2. Form balls with every piece of dough and put them, separated, in a greased baking pan.
  3. With your hands, carefully squash every ball and cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rise for 15 min.
  4. Take the topping dough out of the frigde and roll it out on a previously floured surface until it´s pretty thin. Cut same-size circles using a cookie cutter (they must be a bit bigger than the size of the conchas balls we had previously formed) and place each of them on top of every dough ball.
  5. Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut lines in the topping like a clam shell.
  6. Cover the conchas again and let them rise for 1 hr. Preheat the oven at 350° F.
  7. Bake the conchas for 20 min. or until golden brown.

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Author: Andrea Gámez

Interior designer, Photographer, Food blogger and lover, painting entusiast and a sucker for art. / MEXICO

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