Eggless Mexican Conchas

Conchas also known as Pan Dulche are a type of Mexican sweet bread which was selected for this month's eggless baking challenge. This bread gets its name from its appearance as it has shell shaped look after baking. The toppings can be made in different colors and with different flavors. Traditionally made from eggs,,, but this being eggless challenge we needed to come up with our own way using eggless substitute. I had seen Gayatri using curd plus soda mixture in last month challenge Italian rose cake, so decided to go ahead with the same in the below conchas. I was so attracted to these shell shaped buns when Gayatri forwarded us the recipe as well as pic, that I wanted to try it. But with vacation scheduled over next weekend there was too much time spent on shopping, packing besides kids school exams, and so I attempt them only day before yesterday. Could not post it yesterday as again I was out busy shopping. Being new to bread baking was anxious and not so confident, more over this recipe had eggs, so here I have halved the recipe and adjusted the quantity as per requirements.

Original recipe at Wild Yeast and the starter dough adapted from here


Starter dough/for Sponge 
1/2 cup +1 tsp all purpose flour (APF). maida
1/2 tsp active dry yeast
6 tbsp warm milk
Pinch of sugar

For  Final dough
1 and 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp APF
1 and 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 tsp salt
30 gm butter
2 tbsp milk
80 gms powdered sugar
1/2 cup yoghurt + 1/4 tsp soda

For topping
1/2 cup APF
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp milk
45 gms butter at room temp
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp pink food color [optional]


The active dry yeast was proofed in 1 tbsp of warm milk and pinch of sugar. Once the yeast solution bubbles up, combine it with other ingredients in a medium bowl to make the starter dough. Mix well until all is incorporated well. Cover and ferment until the dough doubles in size.

Once the starter dough doubles in volume, assemble the ingredients to prepare the final dough. Once again proof the active dry yeast in 2 tbsp warm milk and and a big pinch of sugar. Meanwhile add soda to yogurt and stir it well. Keep it aside, you will see the bubbles on curd mixture. Once the yeast is proofed mix the flour, yeast solution, curd mixture, salt, butter and the sponge dough. Knead it well, scrape off the sides of the vessel and continue kneading till you get a nice shiny dough. Keep it in greased vessel and allow it to rest for 30 mins [Since I went to carry on with my other activity, I forgot about the resting dough,, kept it out for 1 hour]. Shift the vessel with final dough into refrigerator and keep it overnight [8-16 hrs]

Next day before removing the final dough out from the refrigerator, prepare the topping. Mix flour, powdered sugar, butter and milk together. Work it together into a soft smooth dough. Divide the dough into two parts. mix colors and flavors of your choice to the dough. I have added turmeric powder, pink food color powder and knead both the portions. 
Take out the final dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface.

Putting together the final dough and topping.
Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Divide the final dough into 8 equal portions. Place each portion in between palms and shape the ball by cupping your upper hand over it loosely and rotating simultanesouly when you are trying to shape them. Place each cup shaped portion on the prepared baking sheet leaving some gap between each other.
Next  divide the topping dough  - the yellow one into 4 portions and the pink one into 4 portions. Roll each portion into smooth ball. Flatten each ball into disc shape and place it on the resting cup shaped dough placed on baking sheet. Flatten it once again with your palm and making decorative patterns [usually shell patterns] with tip of knife. Take care to mark the designs on the butter dough surface.  Repeat it till you finish covering all the dough placed on baking sheets. I allowed them to rest uncovered for 90 mins [ next time I will try with just 60 mins, because I feel they increased in size too much and the buttery dough went further apart]

Preheat oven at 190 C and bake the conchas for about 20 mins. I had placed them on two baking sheets and placed it on middle as well as top thirds rack. So after 10 mins swapped the position of the pans to ensure even baking. The topping should feel set and the rolls should become light brown. Remove them from oven and cool them on a wire rack. Consume them with a cup of milk of tea. 

~The original recipe mentions the measurement in gms, and I did measure the above ingredients in gms but I chose to put it in cups, tsp, tbsp because though the recipe halved few ingredients such as flour, yogurt, were added gradually with tsp/tbsp to get the correct texture of the started dough as well as final dough.
~You may add cocoa powder, coffee powder, cinnamon, cardamom powder to the toppings dough inorder to have different colors and flavors
~ The toppings dough may crack while placing on the yeast dough or baking, but dont worry that is unique feature of these Mexican sweet breads.

We just loved these sweet bread with soft interior and crusty top. I will be preparing them soon with other flavors after I come back from vacation.

sending this entry Bake fest May 2014, brainchild of Vardhini and
Come Join us for breakfastHarini's space

Happy Baking !