Conchas (Pan Dulce)

Breakfast, Desserts

Let’s talk about conchas! Also known as pan dulce aka sweet bread.

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!

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.

If you’ve never had a concha, they go a little something like this: on the bottom there is a brioche-like dough that’s rolled into rounds. The top is a streusel-like shell that’s been mixed until it’s super smooth, patted into a thin round and draped over the dough. A concha-shaped cutter is pressed into the top (or you could use a knife to score it). Then it’s baked (after a quick rise).

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.

While conchas 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.

I actually love learning about history in food. I think it’s fascinating, especially in Latin America. I recently bought a few books (they’re on their way to me), hoping that it’ll 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 conchas!

Conchas (Pan Dulce - Sweet Bread)

Print
5 from 2 votes
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. 
CourseBreakfast
CuisineMexican
Keywordconcha receta, concha recipe, Mexican Conchas, Mexican sweet bread, pan dulce
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 hour
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serving Size: 12
Calories: 289kcal

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. 
Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

8 Comments

  • Reply Conchas (Pan Dulce) – Site Title March 8, 2019 at 12:53 am

    […] (Read more…) […]

  • Reply Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com March 8, 2019 at 11:09 am

    Absolutely beautiful as always. You are truly an artist with food, making every dish a work of art that draws me to your blog with every post. I am a bread lover and look forward to making this recipe.

  • Reply Currently Crushing On. - Best Food & Cooking - Kitchenpedia.co March 9, 2019 at 4:14 am

    […] prettiest conchas I ever did […]

  • Reply Roxie March 9, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    I am interested in what food history books you found. Also, thank you for posting this very doable concha recipe. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

  • Reply Anupama Chopra March 11, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Yummy…Thanks for sharing such a delicious recipe.

  • Reply Nubia April 7, 2019 at 9:19 am

    I’m so excited to make these for my book club! We bring snacks related to the book we read and this month’s was Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez. And btw if you’re into learning a little more about the French’s attempt to colonize Mexico I really recommend Patria, a documentary on netflix!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 7, 2019 at 11:33 am

      Sounds so cute! I’ll check it out thank you. I’m going to check out the book too!

  • Reply Dulce April 20, 2019 at 9:07 am

    I’ve made conchas many times before, but this recipe is gold. The hint of cinnamon mixed with the cocoa is magical, plus they are pretty!

  • Leave a Reply