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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How to make Conchas

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...heck, I will SHOUT it from the rooftops- I LOVE CONCHAS!  Did you hear me all the way over there?  I can hear the  While I love the recipe I've used up until now, but something pushed me to try another.  Wanna know what gave me that "push"?  That would be teaming up with mi amiga, Leslie from La Cocina de Leslie.  We decided to cook together as we can get from two separate countries...and conchas were what we decided to make first.  You can read more about our plans at the bottom of this post.  These conchas differ from my others in both the dough and the sugar topping.  Both are enriched doughs, but this one is even more so (more eggs, more butter)...and it is soft and golden and as dreamy as can be.  This topping uses powdered sugar, whereas the other uses granulated sugar.  This topping ends up a bit puffier...and it slid a bit more in the oven. I think I may try mixing the two next time 'round, because neither is "just right" (in my mind).  Not that I'm complaining.  They are fantastic...just ask the fam and friends who literally beg me to make them more often.  Let me know if you have the perfect concha recipe in your arsenal.  Until then, these will definitely do.
adapted from Pati's Mexican Table
makes 12-16 conchas

    For the dough
 392 g (14 oz.) bread flour + more as needed
 2 lg. eggs
 1 lg. egg yolk
 ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
 1 (¼ oz./ 7 g) packet dry active yeast
 ½ c. lukewarm water
 102 g (4 oz. / 8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temeprature
 140 g (5 oz.) superfine sugar

    For the sugar topping
⅓ lb.  (~149 g / ~5.3 oz.) all purpose flour
⅓ lb. (~149 g / ~5.3 oz.) confectioners' sugar
140 g (5 oz. / 10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, diced
optional for colored sugar:  cocoa powder, food coloring (natural source or bottled)

    Extra butter or vegetable shortening to assemble the conchas
    dough: Add flour, eggs, egg yolk, and salt to a mixer, set with the dough hook. Start the mixer at low speed.  Meanwhile, add yeast to water and stir until creamy and well dissolved.  Pour into the flour mixture and let mixer continue to work, now over medium speed, for ~3-4 minutes.

    Add the butter, and continue to beat for another 3-4 minutes.  Lastly add the sugar, continue mixing for another 3 - 4 minutes or until the dough is gooey, sticky, elastic and very smooth.

    Turn dough out of mixer, form into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic or a kitchen towel and let rise at a warm room temperature until doubled in size, ~3-4 hours.
sugar topping: Place flour and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl.  Using your hands, incorporate the diced butter into the flour mixture.  Mix and knead it until its smooth and well combined.

You can leave the sugar topping white or color it.  I divided into four equal parts.  I left one white.  I worked ~1 tsp. cocoa powder into a quarter of the dough...1 drop red food coloring into a quarter of the dough (for pink)...and 1 drop yellow food coloring into a quarter of the dough.  Cover the sugar topping with plastic wrap so it won't dry out.
assembling the conchas: Grease heavy baking sheets with butter or vegetable shortening (or use parchment or a silpat). Rub a bit of butter onto your hands to make for easy rolling. Divide dough into 12 or 16 equal pieces and form into balls. Then, slightly press them flat, as in a thick disk. Leave ~2" in between each of the conchas so they will have room to expand.

    Divide your sugar topping into 12 or 16 equal pieces (same number as dough balls).  Form each into a ball and flatten into a thin disk.  Place a disk on top of each dough ball and lightly press down.  The sugar should cover basically the whole will pull away from the edges as the dough rises.

    If you have a concha mold, press it on the sugar topping.  If you don't have one, cut through the sugar topping with a knife, making shell-type lines.
Leave the prepared conchas in a warm area of your kitchen, uncovered, and let them rise again, for ~2 hours (until they've almost doubled in size).  Preheat the oven to 350° F during last 15-20 minutes of rise time.
Slide the conchas into the oven and bake for ~20 minutes, or until the conchas are just golden around the edges and have fluffed up.  Be careful that your oven is not hotter than it should be, or they outsides will get very dark and the sugar topping will discolor.  

Carefully remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.  I love to each them while they are still just warm.
I think I'm going to make it my next personal quest to find the ultimate Concha recipe.  While I pretty much love any concha, I want to recreate the fantastic ones that I buy from the Panadería at home.  Both I've tried so far have come close, but neither are quite "there".
I searched far and wide and was incredibly proud of myself when I finally found and ordered my concha presses.  Seriously, I had the hardest time locating any.  I still want to find a press so I can make long, wavy-type lines, but a knife will have to do for now.
What happens when two American girls who are both married to Mexican guys find out that although one of them lives in the U.S. and one of them lives in Mexico, they both love eating the same food?  Well, naturally they decide to get "together" the only way they can and cook up the same dishes.  Or perhaps take the same ingredients and talking about them in their own voice or using them in their own way. 

Leslie and I have teamed up to occasionally cook/bake/make a our own versions of the same food.  We want to see how similar (or how different) they turn out.  Other times we will pick an ingredient and use it however we choose...or maybe just talk about it.  Good food knows no borders and we hope to share the food we love with you.  It's not a competition, it's a showcase.  We will post on the same day as each other and would love to hear your thoughts on what we've made and how you make it. 

Join me (here at girlichef) and Leslie in her kitchen (at La Cocina de Leslie) for some delicious food.
She Made, Ella Hace Banner- and

✽✽Check out Leslie's conchas over at La Cocina de Leslie✽✽

I am sharing this post with:
Katherine Martinelli Friday Blog Hop: Mexican 
BYOB-badge tnsc Tasty Tuesdays 33 shades of green TastyTuesdayBB a little birdie told me rook no. 17

Would you like to comment?

  1. that is the first time you wrote the ingredients in grams as well.. is it my last FB message that made you do it? anyway, thanks a lot. cat't wait to try it :)

  2. These are so pretty! I see why you love these!

  3. I've never heard of these before but they look great. Are they a typical Mexican thing?

  4. I have never had these before; but, they look fantastic. What's not to love about them?! I love the idea of the two of you cooking/baking together like that. I'm off to visit Leslie's blog now. Thanks!

  5. Very cool! I love them; must make a great coffee break treat! And they are so pretty. How I love baking with friends across the continents!

  6. I've baked alot over the years, but I have never heard of conchas. These look so tasty; I love sweet breads, so I definitely want to try these. Thanks for the detailed instructions :)

  7. @Corina...yes, they are a very common Mexican sweet bread.

  8. I've never heard of conchas before, and they look soooooooo good!!
    Yeast-pastries are my favorite so thank you for introducing me to a new kind of pastry with such detailed instructions!

  9., I actually just saw that...but is that for kizmet ;)!? I do try to write it in grams when I post a bread recipe, but sometimes I just forget to convert. Many of my bread ones do have grams in them, though!

  10. How Yummy - and perfectly darling to look at as well!

  11. Never heard of or had CONCHAS; but now I HAVE to get me a CONCHA.

  12. Just another foodie tressure I have yet to try. It sounds like you had fun making then Heather.

  13. How cool! I've never seen or tried these before. They look delicious.

  14. Que fantasticos te ha quedado, alguna vez tengo que hacerlos.


  15. Perhaps your search for the best concha recipe could replace your search for the best tortilla soup recipe? These look...addictive.

  16. These are so cute and don't look too difficult to make... Can't wait to try them!

  17. I am SO jealous of your Concha press!!! And your topping looks so delectable. I will be trying your recipe next time I make Conchas, which will probably be very soon. :)

  18. Wonderful piece of work, Heather! Love the topping.

  19. Your concha press is amazing!! these treats look beauty!!! gloria

  20. I've never had them and now I am on a mission to find them - there's grand Mexican bakery a few miles down the road - so I can see what the fuss is about! Yours looks amazing.

  21. oh my gosh, this is so fun! i love that you found someone to do this with. i have never even heard of a concha, let alone tried one, they are so pretty and sound delicious!

  22. Beautiful and spectacular shells, cute cast, look amazing, hugs.

  23. wow these look amazing love the colors would you me interested in doing cookbook reviews for a client of mine drop me an email

  24. i can't believe you made these! i have easy access to mexican grocery stores that carry these..but the never actually taste that great...and i have such great memories of what they are supposed to taste like! i would have NEVER figured out the sugar top...they sure are cute before baking :) so always!

  25. love it..gotta hand it to you, they look great. I on the other hand buy these babies every other sunday here at my local panaderia(super lazy!!)

  26. I have never had conchas! These look amazing!

  27. hey I've never heard of these before, but now im itching to try, thanks for sharing!xx

  28. I have never had conchas before but I love how great they look with the pretty colored icing. ;-)

  29. I'm a long-time fan of Leslie's blog and love that you two know and inspire one another.

    I always learn something new and valuable when I visit here, and really appreciate that. I've always wondered what the colored stuff was on top of Conchas and had no idea that there were special presses, etc.

    I look forward to hearing how your next generation of this recipe turns out.


  30. Aw, like little conch shells! How cute, I can't wait to make these at home.


  31. What fun colors! Would be a fun recipe to make with the kids.

  32. OH... I thought that those cookies were made with a frosting.

  33. Hi!  I'm also married to a Mexican and I love trying out new recipies to help my hubbers feel at home (we live in Western NY).  I've tried other concha recipies but found them too dense.  I'll have to try yours to see how it goes.  One recipe that I looked at used strawberry milk powder to make the topping pink....  I personally like the regular and my hubbers likes the chocolate so we won't try it but it was a neat idea! 

  34. This was definitely a good one...and was the other one I have on my blog ( ).  I think he'd (and you'd) be happy with them.  My friend Leslie uses strawberry milk powder in her topping ( ) =)  Let me know what you think if you try them!

  35. You are SUPER UBER amazing. I will have to try these and if they taste like the ones I grew up with, I will crown you "Concha Queen" forever!! ;)

  36. For the topping, I use 1/2 granulated and 1/2 powder sugars. I get less slip in the oven and the texture is lighter than all granulated. I also cream the sugars and butter prior to adding the flour. Incorporating air gives it a lighter texture as well. Of course to get good creaming action I use a Kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment. The mixer (with a dough hook) is also good for kneading the dough long enough to develop the gluten and get that silky smooth look to it before the first rise.

  37. I will try using half and half on the sugars next time...and creaming the sugar w/ butter first. I do use my KitchenAid w/ dough hook to mix the dough already since it's such a soft dough. Thanks for the suggestions!

  38. My 13 year old daughter made them today. AMAZING!