Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mexican Sweet Bread (Conchas a.k.a Seashells)

I love Mexican Pan Dulce (Sweet Bread), it has such a light flavor, it's perfect with coffee, tea or better yet hot chocolate! I was born in El Salvador and since there were never any Salvadorean Bakeries in the areas where we lived in Canada and the U.S. we would always opt for the next best thing, Mexican Pan Dulce.  I've been eating this stuff for years and finally decided to try to make it for myself, this was my first attempt and although I didn't get the topping quite right, they still turned out amazing! This recipe comes from and have great reviews!
Fluffy and ready to eat!

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 deg F)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/8 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Topping #1:
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping #2:  
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tbsp melted butter


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water. Mix in the milk, 3/8 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, salt, egg and half of the flour. Gradually mix in the remaining flour, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter to knead as soon as it pulls together enough.
  2. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a large greased bowl, and turn the dough to coat. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Make the topping while the dough rises. In a medium bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour until the mixture is the consistency of thick paste. Divide into two parts, and place one part in a separate bowl. Mix cinnamon into one half, and vanilla into the other half.** You can also add food coloring to make different colored conchas.
  4. When the dough is done rising, cut into 12 even-sized pieces. Shape into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart. If using Topping #1: Divide each bowl of topping into 6 balls, and pat flat. Place circles of topping on top of the dough balls patting down lightly. Use a knife to cut grooves in the topping like a clam shell. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. ** I felt like I used too much topping since my conchas were quite small, the topping tended to grow quite a bit, so I would recommend using 1/2 a topping ball per pastry if your conchas are small.  If you want to try Topping #1, bake the bread with no topping
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.
  6. Decorating with Topping #1, as soon as you take the bread out of the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle sugar on top and let dry, see pictures below.

Making the dough!

After the dough was left to rise for about 2 hrs I divided it into 12 balls
Making Topping #1! Orange in honor of Halloween or OSU ;)

Making them Clam looking

And they're done! Yum, yum!
Making some sugar ones with Topping #2!

Sugar ones are ready to eat! They kind of resemble Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) bread :)
Mexican Sweet Bread Feast!