Pan Dulce – Conchas

I grew up eating pan dulce and not just for breakfast, any time of day was good for a sweet treat. My parent's never made Mexican bread though, they didn't have to. The bread was readily available at any hispanic market or panaderia. 

As a kid I remember going to panaderias on the weekend... the best part was walking into the store and the smell of freshly baked bread was a warm welcome of what was to come. For me this was my donut shop, puercos, ojos, conchas, empanadas. I loved them all!  To this day, I love the smell of panaderias because they are a big part of my childhood memories. 

Fast forward to 2018, I now live in PHX Arizona, and while there are lots of options for pan dulce... I find it hard to find one that brings me back to my childhood memory of what the bread should be. Not that the bread is bad,  It's just not what I'm used to in terms of texture. Not to worry, this is my own hang up, and If I want something that resembles what I grew up with I have the baking knowledge to make what I grew up eating

Here's a recipe that reminds me of the panaderias of my childhood. Firm sugar crust, lots of canela (cinnamon) flavor and a bread that not airy and stiff, but soft and chewy, like it should be. 

ZairaAuthorZairaCategory, , , , DifficultyAdvanced

Yields12 Servings
Prep Time3 hrsCook Time15 minsTotal Time3 hrs 15 mins

Dough
 1 tbsp dry yeast
 1 ¾ cups warm milk
 3 ½ cups bread flour
 ½ tbsp salt
 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar
 4 tbsp melted butter + 1 tablespoon for bowl buttering
 1 egg
 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Sugar crust
  cup confectioners sugar
 ½ cup room temp. butter
 ¾ cup all purpose flour
 1 tsp cinnamon
 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ or extract
 Food Coloring (optional)

1

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, yeast, and warm milk to your stand mixer bowl. Set aside for 5 - 10 minutes until the yeast is activated (nice a foamy).

2

Add the flour, remaining sugar, salt, egg, butter and cinnamon to the bowl. With the kneading attachment, knead the ingredients for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has a slight elasticity.

3

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to a clean bowl that has been greased with butter. cover your dough and allow it to double in a warm place, about an hour.
While the dough is proofing, make the sugar crust.

4

In a clean bowl, combine the remaining butter and the sugar, mix until creamy. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and flour and continue to mix until a thick paste is formed. Divide the sugar paste into the number of colors you plan on using for the crust. In this case I separated the sugar crust into three.

5

Add the food coloring to your sugar paste and mix until the sugar paste color is well blended.

Roll out the sugar paste over some parchment paper. If your paste is sticking to your roller, place some plastic wrap over the sugar paste to allow for easier rolling out. Cut out the sugar rounds using a large biscuit cutter, but do not score them. I find it easier to score the sugar paste once the crust is on the dough.

6

Punch down the dough and cut into 3 ounce pieces (weighing your dough ensures you have an even bake fall your bread). Dough will yield about 12 dough balls.
Roll out the dough into smooth balls and press down in the middle to flatten them slightly. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7

Carefully place the sugar crust over the rolled out dough balls and score them with the shell or cross cut pattern. Allow the dough to rise a second time, another hour.
During this time preheat your oven to 375.

8

After the second rise... bake the prepped conchas for 15 -18 minutes. It really depends on your oven. Once the dough is firm, and the sugar crust hard. Your conchas are done.

Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool over a wire rack.

Ingredients

Dough
 1 tbsp dry yeast
 1 ¾ cups warm milk
 3 ½ cups bread flour
 ½ tbsp salt
 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar
 4 tbsp melted butter + 1 tablespoon for bowl buttering
 1 egg
 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Sugar crust
  cup confectioners sugar
 ½ cup room temp. butter
 ¾ cup all purpose flour
 1 tsp cinnamon
 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/ or extract
 Food Coloring (optional)

Directions

1

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, yeast, and warm milk to your stand mixer bowl. Set aside for 5 - 10 minutes until the yeast is activated (nice a foamy).

2

Add the flour, remaining sugar, salt, egg, butter and cinnamon to the bowl. With the kneading attachment, knead the ingredients for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and has a slight elasticity.

3

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and transfer to a clean bowl that has been greased with butter. cover your dough and allow it to double in a warm place, about an hour.
While the dough is proofing, make the sugar crust.

4

In a clean bowl, combine the remaining butter and the sugar, mix until creamy. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, and flour and continue to mix until a thick paste is formed. Divide the sugar paste into the number of colors you plan on using for the crust. In this case I separated the sugar crust into three.

5

Add the food coloring to your sugar paste and mix until the sugar paste color is well blended.

Roll out the sugar paste over some parchment paper. If your paste is sticking to your roller, place some plastic wrap over the sugar paste to allow for easier rolling out. Cut out the sugar rounds using a large biscuit cutter, but do not score them. I find it easier to score the sugar paste once the crust is on the dough.

6

Punch down the dough and cut into 3 ounce pieces (weighing your dough ensures you have an even bake fall your bread). Dough will yield about 12 dough balls.
Roll out the dough into smooth balls and press down in the middle to flatten them slightly. Repeat with the remaining dough.

7

Carefully place the sugar crust over the rolled out dough balls and score them with the shell or cross cut pattern. Allow the dough to rise a second time, another hour.
During this time preheat your oven to 375.

8

After the second rise... bake the prepped conchas for 15 -18 minutes. It really depends on your oven. Once the dough is firm, and the sugar crust hard. Your conchas are done.

Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool over a wire rack.

Pan Dulce – Conchas

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