Conchas: Mexican Sweet Bread Recipe

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Niki's Pan Dulce
Niki’s Pan Dulce

Let me preface this by saying that I am not an experienced baking. I love to cook and have recently been trying my hand at baking and let me say, I have much respect for all you bakers out there. There’s so much precision and measuring! I am used to just winging it a bit as I go and wow, is that not something you can really do with baking. So here is my recipe and probably weird instructions (with lots of notes in parentheses), for Mexican sweet bread (Pan Dulce) in the concha variety.

The Recipe

Prep Time: 2 hr 30 min Cook Time: 20 min Serves: 10-11


Activate Yeast

1/4 cup Whole Milk, warmed, less than 120°

1/4 cup Heavy Cream, warmed, Less than 120°

30 g Castor sugar, baking sugar

1/2 cup Warm water, Less than 120°

12 g Active dry yeast, 2 3/4t

Form Dough

75 g Unsalted Butter, melted

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1 Egg, large

1 Egg yolk, large

60 g Castor sugar, baking sugar

450 g All purpose flour, sifted

1.5 g Ground cinnamon , 1/2 t

As needed Vegetable Oil, for coating bowl and baking sheet


125 g Castor sugar, baking sugar

113 g Salted Butter, softened

100-120 g All purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp Vanilla Extract, not imitation 

6 g Ground cinnamon

Preparation Steps


1. In a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl), add 1/4c warmed whole milk, 1/4c warmed heavy cream, 30g castor sugar, 1/2c warm water, and gently whisk to dissolve sugar.

2. Add 12g of active dry yeast and gently whisk to mix. Let the mixture sit until foamy/creamy (about 10 minutes). I like to run warm water over the bowl to heat it up a bit. Don’t exceed 120° or the yeast will be killed.


3. After it’s foamy, add 75g of melted unsalted butter, 1t of kosher salt, 1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, and 60g of castor sugar. Start mixing with the dough hook attachment on the stand mixer.

4. Slowly add 400g of all purpose flour in 150g increments and 1.5g of ground cinnamon. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the flour gets mixed.

5. Knead with dough hook for ~5 minutes. The dough should come together and stick slightly to the bottom of the mixer bowl, but not the sides (it looks like a little cyclone, best way I can describe it!).

6. Turn the dough out onto a WELL FLOURED surface and knead by hand for a minute or two to work in a bit of flour from the surface.

7. Warm the oven for a minute (try not to exceed 90°F).

8. Coat a large bowl with vegetable oil, shape dough into to ball, place dough into bowl and turn it to coat it in oil.

9. Place a damp cloth over the dough (note: the dough may stick a bit to the cloth after rising) and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place it in the warmed oven for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.


10. While the dough is proofing, cream together 113g of salted butter (softened) with 125g of castor sugar. Use the beater attachment on the stand mixer. It will take at least five minutes!

11. After the butter is creamed, slowly add 100-120g of all purpose flour. Scrape down the bowl sides to be sure everything blends. It should forms what looks like a ball of dough. (I used 120g of flour but it could probably do with slightly less, depends on your preference).

12. Remove mixture from mixer and split into two half. Mix one half with 1t of vanilla extract (recommend using pure vanilla extract and not imitation vanilla).

13. Mix the other half with 6g of ground sugar (or less, depending on taste preferences).


14. Remove dough from oven and turn out onto a WELL FLOURED surface. Dough may be slightly sticky, so the well floured surface will add a bit more flour to the dough.

15. punch down dough and knead a couple times to add some flour from the surface.

16. split dough into 10 equal parts (10-12, depending on size preference). 

17. roll dough pieces into balls and pat down to slightly flatten.

18. place dough balls on greased cookie sheet a few inches apart. (may need two sheets depending on size)

19. spilt toppings into equal parts (if making ten conchas, split each topping into five equal sections)

20. roll topping into balls and flatten into discs to cover the dough balls. Place on top of dough balls.

21. use a sharp knife to score clam shell design into topping.

22. place back into oven to proof for one more hour.


23. remove prepped dough from the oven and heat oven to 375°.

24. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. (start checking for doneness at about 13 minutes, baking time can vary depending on size of conchas. The dough should have nice light gold color.) Let them cool on a rack.

The finished product!

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