Conchas (Mexican Pan Dulce)

Breakfast, Desserts

Conchas are a Mexican bread, a sweet bread (Pan Dulce) that are served at panaderías. This concha bread is a soft, enriched dough that has a lovely buttery and sweet flavor.

Conchas/Pan Dulce are delicious when paired with hot chocolate

Let’s talk about Mexican conchas which are also known as pan dulce!

Sweet Bread literally translates to pan dulce in Spanish. While concha in English translates to seashell. Makes sense given that conchas look like seashells!

When I moved back to California after I graduated college, I realized I literally knew nothing about Mexican food. I, of course, had eaten a good amount of Mexican food when I lived in the OC as a little kid. But I don’t think I understood what I was eating. I also don’t think we ate a huge variety of Mexican food. And to be honest, my mom cooked most of the meals we ate. We weren’t a super “go-out-to-eat” type of family. That woman was on a budget!

Ingredients for Concha dough

When I finally moved back to Los Angeles, after college, I started to really understand and learn the different varieties of Mexican food and it was cool. I learned the differences between food from Baja, Mexico City, Colima, the Yucatan and Oaxaca. And my actual trips to Mexico have been even more educational.

One of my favorite places I went to in Mexico City was a panadería where they served the warmest, freshest conchas with the crispiest tops.

Concha dough being mixed up

Concha dough formed into balls for their second rise

The Anatomy of Conchas/Pan Dulce

If you’ve never had a concha/pan dulce, they consist of this: on the bottom there is a brioche-like dough that’s rolled into rounds. The top is a streusel-like shell that is mixed until it’s super smooth, and then patted into a thin round and draped over the dough. Next, a concha-shaped cutter is pressed into the top. Since I don’t own one, I used a knife to score it. The slats won’t be perfect but  once the concha/pan dulce is baked up, you won’t be able to notice. Then, the dough is baked after a quick rise.

The tops of the conchas are scored to give it that signature "seashell" look

The top is crunchy and crisp, the bottom half, fluffy and soft. They’re typically eaten at breakfast time with a mug of hot chocolate or coffee.

The Origins of Conchas and Pan Dulce

While conchas/pan dulce are for sure Mexican, their origins go back to Europe. Many panaderias were influenced by the French, who migrated there for who knows why, bringing their doughs and techniques to Mexico. Mexican chefs adapted these doughs and created many of the goods you see in panaderias today.

Conchas/Pan Dulce straight out of the oven

Conchas/Pan Dulce paired with hot chocolate

Conchas/Pan Dulce

I love learning about history in food. It’s truly fascinating, especially in Latin America. A few weeks ago, I bought a few books (they’re on their way to me), that will teach me a thing or two about our food history.

I’ll share more info when I learn it! In the mean time, let’s make some Mexican pan dulce/conchas!

And of course, pair it with a few cups of fancy hot chocolate! 

Conchas/Pan Dulce fresh out of the oven

Conchas Recipe (Pan Dulce - Sweet Bread)

PRINT
4.93 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 hour
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 12
Calories: 289kcal
Conchas are also known as Pan Dulce and Sweet Bread. This Mexican breakfast item is made of a fluffy, butter brioche-like dough topped with a streusel topping that is scored. These colorful Mexican breakfast item is a crowd favorite. 

Ingredients

Concha Dough:

  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk (you can also use regular whole milk)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Streusel Topping:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Food Coloring Gel

Directions

To Make the Concha Dough:

  • To the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment (you can also do this in a large bowl and knead it by hand!), add the warm water. Pour the active dry yeast on top and mix in into the water. Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 to 7 minutes. If it doesn’t get foamy then you’ll need to do it again. 
  • When the active dry yeast is foamy, pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, granulated sugar, evaporated milk, salt, vanilla, ground cinnamon and eggs. Break up the eggs with the back of a spatula and allow the dough hook to mix it up a bit, about 30 seconds. 
  • Next, pour the flour in all at once and run the machine for about 5 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is soft and smooth. If you’re doing this by hand, once the dough comes together, you’ll want to dump it out onto your floured counter and knead it for about 10 minutes, until it’s nice and smooth. 
  • Rub a large bowl with oil or spray it with cooking spray and place the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. 

To Make the Streusel-Topping:

  • In the bowl of stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment (you could also mix this by hand if you don’t have a mixer), add the butter, sugar, flour and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth, about 1 minute. 
  • Divide the dough in two. To one part of the topping, add a drop of food coloring gel. To the other topping, add the cocoa powder and knead until it’s cohesive. 

To Assemble the Conchas:

  • Once the dough has risen, divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Or better yet, weigh them into balls of 100g. Form the balls of dough into rounds. Repeat until you’ve worked through all of the dough. 
  • Take about 2 tablespoons of the topping and rollout using our palms, flatting it into a thin round. Drape it over the round of dough, patting down lightly. Using a knife, cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. You can also do other types of cuts like criss cross, circles, etc. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool. Serve with hot chocolate or coffee. 

Notes

Using Instant Yeast:
If you'd like you can use Instant Yeast. Instant Yeast is a bit different than dry active yeast because you mix it into the dry ingredients (vs. activating it in liquid). If you'd like to use Instant Yeast with this recipe, you would mix the first nine ingredients together and then combine the all-purpose and Instant Yeast together. Add the all-purpose flour mixture to the wet ingredients.  
Directions to Freeze: 
Pan Dulce freezes easily. To freeze, bake them and allow them to cool completely. Place on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer and chill for 1 hour. Transfer the pan dulce to a freezer-safe container and/or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place on a baking sheet on a kitchen counter. 
Equipment: 
Nordic Ware Baking Sheets | Parchment Paper | Paring Knife | KitchenAid Stand-Up Mixer | Concha Stamp 
CourseBreakfast
CuisineMexican
Keywordconcha receta, concha recipe, Mexican Conchas, Mexican sweet bread, pan dulce
Serving: 12g | Calories: 289kcal | Carbohydrates: 39.7g | Protein: 6.8g | Fat: 11.2g | Saturated Fat: 6.1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 472mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 7.4g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Did you make this Recipe? Tag me Today!Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

If you make these conchas, let me know on Instagram! 

Looking for more Latin-inspired recipes? Here are some other favorites:

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

39 Comments

Leave a Reply






  • Reply Entirely.Elizabeth.S May 16, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe! I cut it in half and made only 6. I did use only 1.5cups of flour and that was enough too by the way. Any more and the dough would have been very stiff. I also used dark cocoa instead of regular for a more black color to go with my pink and orange. I posted it on IG and had an overwhelming response thanks to your recipe. You go girl!

  • Reply Alma May 9, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Can I substitute whole milk for oat milk?

  • Reply Fawnne May 8, 2020 at 11:52 am

    5 stars
    Omg. Thank for you this. They came out perfect! First time making them and they are very reminiscent of my childhood! Your instructions are very easy to follow. I decided to make them smaller. Delicious recipe. So I made 22-24 conchas. Thank you again!!

  • Reply Jennifer Uyeyama May 4, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Oh man I just realized I didn’t do the second rise!! Could that be why my streusel slid off??

  • Reply Jennifer Uyeyama May 4, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    5 stars
    I have never had pan dulce but my friend wanted to make so here goes. Well the first try it didn’t rise and I thought maybe my butter got too warm when I melted so I kneaded more yeast into it and it was fine in an hour. Baked and they got pretty big and the streusel had mostly slipped off while baking. Tried again and realized the butter couldn’t have been too hot after mixing with the milk ,I used instant yeast. After an hour not much rise let it sit and after two hours it was good. The others were so big I made 18 out of these and put streusel on thicker still slipped off but not as bad. I like the taste but I have nothing to compare it to. I enjoyed making them the kids helped and really enjoyed scoring the streusel .

  • 1 2